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 do Steelkilt and his men demand in return for obeying orders?

2. What previous employment had shaped Bartleby?

3. What does the crew decide to do after Steelkilt is flogged?

4. What does Melville say is the most populous species on the island of Albermarle?

5. How does the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" treat his creditor after hearing the crow?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Steelkilt demand to prevent a mutiny?

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. What words does the narrator use to describe Bartleby when he first meets him?

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

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.

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.

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