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 the Peruvian listeners force the storyteller to do to prove his story is true?

2. What makes Moby Dick an unusual whale?

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

4. What does the crew decide not to do after Steelkilt is flogged?

5. What food does Bartleby appear to eat exclusively?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How is the accuracy of copy verified by scriveners?

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

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

6. What does the captain decide to do with Steelkilt and those who followed him in insubordination?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville's purposes in writing are both artistic and moralistic. Select a story in which you see his purpose as basically one or the other, and give examples from the story in your essay that support your thesis.

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's work is full of allusions to mythic characters and settings with which he expects his reader to be familiar. Select a story such as "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" or "The Two Temples" to find the references to mythology. Look up the characters or locations and explain in your essay how these references strengthen the story.

(see the answer keys)

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