A Mencken Chrestomathy Test | Final 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 device does Mencken call a "boon to bores"?

2. What unusual stance does Mencken take in regards to disease?

3. What quality makes for the best literary critic, according to Chapter 24?

4. What is the contemporary invention that Mencken likes most?

5. Mencken sees authors as divided into which two classes?

Short Essay Questions

1. What memorable position does Mencken take on opera?

2. Why does Mencken make mention of Sister Aimee? Who was Sister Aimee, and what was Mencken's opinion of her?

3. What opinion does Mencken render about the Black Plague that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages?

4. Summarize Mencken's views on William Dean Howells.

5. Why does Mencken criticize the American Medical Association? What is his opinion of doctors as a professional class?

6. What is Mencken's opinion of the music of Johann Strauss? Why wasn't Strauss' music more well-received in America?

7. Summarize Mencken's views on inspiration, as recounted in Chapter 25.

8. Summarize Mencken's view of Ludwig van Beethoven.

9. In an editorial dated October, 1928, Mencken discusses schoolboys. Summarize this article. What suggestions does Mencken have for improving education?

10. What opinion does Mencken render about a) Mary Baker G. Eddy and Christian Science, and b) the doctrine of theosophy?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

1) Ludwig van Beethoven

2) Richard Strauss

3) Johann Strauss

4) Johannes Brahms

5) Richard Wagner

6) Franz Schubert

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Choose five of the types of people Mencken discusses in Chapter 2 and discuss:

a) The manner in which Mencken describes them

b) What Mencken believes motivates each type of people

c) What the defining characteristics of each type of people are

(see the answer keys)

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