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. How does Mencken characterize the emotional state of most schoolboys?

2. What point does Mencken make in his discussion of Darwinian evolution?

3. What device does Mencken call a "boon to bores"?

4. Which president did Charles Joseph Bonaparte work for?

5. Why does Mencken criticize the American Medical Association?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What is Mencken's own philosophy of psychology? What does he feel forms the basis of human psychology?

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

7. What does Mencken believe about contemporary new inventions? Mention the telephone as well as the thermostat in your response.

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

9. How does Mencken compare socialism to capitalism? Include the Bolshevik Revolution in your response.

10. In "Utopian Flights," how does Mencken suggest that legislators be chosen? What benefits would this method have, in his opinion?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the Chapter 29 "buffoonery" in which Mencken portrays a dialogue involving Pharoah Cheops.

1) Summarize the "plot" and premise of the story.

2) Discuss how the story relates to contemporary concerns.

3) Speculate as to why Mencken may have used Pharaoh Cheops and his world to comment on contemporary issues. What does Mencken accomplish by commentary designed in this fashion?

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

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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