Great Short Works of Herman Melville 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. With what alliteration does Melville describe the islands?

2. What is the narrator's condition when he goes to the theater in London?

3. What did the failure of his invention do for the uncle in "The Happy Failure?"

4. Who is the worst enemy of the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?"

5. What famous person expressed a good opinion of the narrator of Bartleby?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Steelkilt demand to prevent a mutiny?

2. What does the author of "Poor Man's Pudding" and "Rich Man's Crumbs" pray that Heaven will save him from?

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

4. What do the sailors in "The Encantadas" do with tortoises?

5. Why does Melville come to believe that some buccaneers on the isle of Albermarle must have been gentlemen?

6. What skills are necessary for a scrivener?

7. What stylistic devices does Melville use to give the reader the feeling of the rooster's crow in "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo"?

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

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

10. What does the narrator say happens to one in command who discovers a subordinate who is "significantly his superior"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville was capable of a wide range of diction, or word choice, ranging from the staccato exclamations of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" to the alliterations of "The Encantadas," (an archipelago of aridities), to biblical allusions ("A virtue went out of him . . ." "I became a pillar of salt . . ."). Select one form of diction that impressed you about these stories, show examples of its use, and analyze its effectiveness.

Essay Topic 2

One recurring theme in Melville's stories is the fate of an innocent man in the grip of malice he does not comprehend. Compare two such protagonists, such as Steelkilt and Billy Budd.

Essay Topic 3

Several of the stories in this collection deal with relationships between men and women. Using at least two stories as a basis, evaluate Melville's understanding of the status of women in his society and culture. Did he agree with, condemn, or remain neutral about the rights of women?

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