Great Short Works of Herman Melville Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What does the narrator's middle-aged employee offer to do for Bartleby?
(a) Teach him better work habits.
(b) Teach him manners.
(c) Black his eyes.
(d) Fire him.

2. Why does the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" believe he should not be sued?
(a) He is a hospitable, generous man.
(b) His creditor is a grumpy person.
(c) His debt was unfairly imposed.
(d) His interest payments are exorbitant.

3. How does the narrator describe life on the sea as compared to farming or working the Erie Canal?
(a) Sea life is "quietly Christian."
(b) Sea life is "daring and brave."
(c) Sea life is "reckless and barbaric."
(d) Sea life is "calm and pure."

4. What human assumption does Melville say is the most preposterous?
(a) Criticism of the rich by the poor.
(b) Criticism of the poor by the rich.
(c) Understanding of the poor by the rich.
(d) Understanding of the rich by the poor.

5. What is the first thing Bartleby says he would prefer not to do?
(a) Originate a copy.
(b) Copy a comparison of an original.
(c) Compare a copy with its original.
(d) Go for coffee.

Short Answer Questions

1. Of what does the onstage action in the London theater remind the narrator?

2. What surprises the narrator when he goes to his office on a Sunday?

3. What does Bartleby's demeanor show about his eccentricities?

4. What animal from the islands supplies sailors with food and utensils?

5. What two characteristics does Melville attribute to the islands of the Encantadas?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did the first seven of Steelkilt's men come out of their imprisonment?

2. What verb tenses does Melville use in "The Two Temples" to bring immediacy to the story?

3. In "The Happy Failure," what is the uncle's great invention?

4. Why does the narrator continue to accept Bartleby's refusals?

5. How does the poet Blandmour feel about poverty in "Poor Man's Pudding"?

6. What are Turkey's shortcomings as a scrivener?

7. What was disrespectful about Radney asking Steelkilt to sweep the deck?

8. In "Rich Man's Crumbs," why is the narrator called a "graceless ragamuffin"?

9. How does the narrator respond the first time Bartleby answers a request with, "I would prefer not to"?

10. What superstition do sailors have about the tortoises in "The Encantadas"?

(see the answer keys)

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