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

2. What does the narrator say a man does when confronted with an unreasonable situation?

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

4. What is the profession of the narrator of Bartleby?

5. What does Melville believe the charities of London do for the poor?

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Steelkilt's followers decide to do upon their release?

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

3. What does Steelkilt demand to prevent a mutiny?

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

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

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

7. Why does Melville refer to Oberlus as "a creature whom it is religion to detest?"

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Melville frequently reveals the character of a narrator through the narrator's observations and reactions to another character. "Bartleby the Scrivener" and "Benito Cereno" are examples of this technique. Select one of the stories in which the narrator reveals himself. Discuss how the character is revealed and the effectiveness of this technique for you as a reader.

Essay Topic 3

Melville often leaves critical parts of a story unsaid. In "The Town-Ho's Story," for instance, the reader never knows what threat Steelkilt mutters to the captain that causes him to decide not to flog Steelkilt. Likewise, in Hunilla's story in "The Encantadas," he says that " . . . the unnamed events which befell Hunilla on this isle, let them abide between her and her God. In nature, as in law, it may be libelous to speak some truths." Analyze the effectiveness of withholding key information from the reader in this way.

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