A Mencken Chrestomathy Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What group of people has been "overestimated" throughout the course of human history?

2. What was the goal of early democratists?

3. Punishment for crime is too often what, according to Mencken?

4. What kind of men has history been written by, to date?

5. What does the "believer" type of person inevitably do?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Mencken's view of monogamy/marriage?

2. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of Abraham Lincoln.

3. In Chapter 1, how does Mencken's view of humanity coincide with that of the modern scientist?

4. Discuss Mencken's history of democracy. Before it arrived, what did people think of democracy? How was it conceived? How did it evolve?

5. Name four historic events Mencken mentions in Chapter 12, and his opinion of them.

6. What is the origin of morality according to Mencken?

7. What is Mencken's opinion of the contemporary American South? What are its features? What rules the South?

8. Describe Mencken's thought experiment, in which he imagines if the Confederacy had won the Civil War.

9. What is Mencken's view of punishment for crime? What is the function of punishment?

10. What is Mencken's view of romantic love?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

1) Discuss Mencken's view of socialism. What effect has socialism has on the world?

2) Compare and contrast Mencken's view of capitalism with that of socialism.

3) Relate Mencken's view of human nature with his view of economics. How do the tendencies and reality of the human condition affect the effectiveness of economical models, for Mencken?

Essay Topic 2

Describe in-depth Mencken's views of the following people (and specific works, if applicable):

1) Mark Twain

2) William Dean Howells

3) Edgar Allan Poe

4) Ralph Waldo Emerson

5) Walt Whitman

6) Ambrose Bierce

Essay Topic 3

1) Discuss Mencken's historical involvement in the Scopes Monkey Trial.

2) Summarize Mencken's own account of his attendance of the trial.

3) What was Mencken's impression of the townspeople? Of Clarence Darrow? Of William Jennings Bryan?

4) How does the conflict at the heart of the trial reflect upon Mencken's own values and convictions? Why was the trial so important to Mencken?

(see the answer keys)

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