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. According to Chapter 16, which political system is responsible for the majority of civilization as we know it?

2. What is the usual relationship between an artist and his countrymen?

3. What does Mencken believe about contemporary understanding of alcoholism?

4. Who was the attorney on the side of the defense in the Scopes Monkey Trial?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Mencken make mention of Charles Joseph Bonaparte? Who was Bonaparte, and what was Mencken's opinion of him?

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

3. What is Mencken's opinion of the teaching profession? How does he compare and contrast teaching styles of his schoolboy days to today?

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

5. Summarize Mencken's account of a Jack Dempsey boxing match.

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

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

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

9. In Chapter 19, Mencken discusses science. Discuss his views of a) the scientific hypothesis, b) Charles Darwin, and c) Mr. Ayres' and his philosophy.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast Mencken's view of the American South, pre-Civil War versus post-Civil War. Include defining characteristics, form of government, qualities of people, culture, wealth, and anything else you feel is relevant to the discussion.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Chapters 19 and 20 discuss Science and Quackery, respectively.

1) What is Mencken's belief about life on other planets? How have contemporary astronomers made an error on the subject?

2) What criticism does Mencken have about "Mr. Ayres"'s view on science, and how does this criticism relate to Mencken's own view of human nature?

3) What kind of science constitutes "quackery" in Mencken's opinion? How can "real" science be separated from "quack" science? How might Mencken account for the prevalence of quackery?

4) Give a few examples of quack science, as related by Mencken in Chapter 20.

(see the answer keys)

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