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. Who takes possession as the sole ruler of St. Charles Isle?

2. Why does the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" believe he should not be sued?

3. What does the arrangement of the office allow Bartleby to do with the narrator?

4. What does a scrivener do?

5. With what weapon does Radney threaten Steelkilt?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. How does the creditor in "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" torment the narrator?

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

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

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

9. What superstition do sailors have about the tortoises in "The Encantadas"?

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

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 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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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