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 benefit does the narrator get from his indulgence of Bartleby's eccentricities?

2. What did buccaneers leave on the islands that Melville claims is proof of their better traits?

3. What prevents Steelkilt from taking revenge on Radney?

4. What surprises the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" about the owner of the rooster?

5. With what alliteration does Melville describe the islands?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Melville believe that American poor suffer more than European poor?

2. What is Nippers's shortcoming as a scrivener?

3. Why does Melville call Redondo the "aviary of the ocean"?

4. Why did the two remaining followers of Steelkilt each hope to be the first out of the hold?

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

6. What does Steelkilt demand to prevent a mutiny?

7. What skills are necessary for a scrivener?

8. Why does the narrator say that pity turns into repulsion?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When Billy Budd is impressed into the royal navy, the captain of the ship he is leaving says that a former enemy, called Red Whiskers, " . . . now really loves Billy--loves him or is the biggest hypocrite that ever I heard of." Is this an instance of skillful foreshadowing? In your essay, analyze why the captain's lament is or is not an example of Melville's foreshadowing the main conflict in 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, as a product of his time and place, has opinions that are strongly racist, in the sense of making generalizations about groups of people. For example, "Spaniards are all an odd set; the very word Spaniard has a curious, conspirator, Guy-Fawkish twang to it." or "The 'Gee has a great appetite, but little imagination; a large eyeball, but small insight." or "When a mulatto has a regular European face, look out for him; he is a devil." In your essay, analyze these opinions and others like them.

(see the answer keys)

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