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 animal from the islands supplies sailors with food and utensils?

2. What human assumption does Melville say is the most preposterous?

3. Why doesn't the narrator dismiss Bartleby for insubordination?

4. What makes Moby Dick an unusual whale?

5. Of what does the onstage action in the London theater remind the narrator?

Short Essay Questions

1. How have the Knights Templar changed, according to Melville's observations, in "The Paradise of Bachelors"?

2. What does the narrator of "The Fiddler" first admire about Hautboy?

3. What does Jimmy Rose retain after he has lost his fortune?

4. What is Captain Delano's intention in boarding Benito Cereno's ship?

5. What does the chimney in "I and My Chimney" provide for the narrator on the second landing?

6. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

7. What seems odd about Benito Cereno's ship when Captain Delano first sees it?

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

9. What does Melville say is the difference between boarding a strange ship and entering a strange house?

10. Why is the narrator despondent at the beginning of "The Fiddler"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville employs a wide variety of stylistic techniques in his writing, including a poetic use of repetition. In "I and My Chimney," for example, he writes of " . . . a mysterious door, entering to a mysterious closet; and here I keep mysterious cordials of a choice, mysterious flavor." In your essay, analyze this and other examples of artful repetition you find in these stories.

Essay Topic 2

Melville uses brief sketches to address large issues of social justice. Select two of the stories that work together, such as "The Paradise of Bachelors" and "The Tartarus of Maids," or "The Two Temples," to analyze the social issues addressed in those comparisons.

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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