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 makes Moby Dick an unusual whale?

3. Why does the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" call the rooster Signor Beneventano?

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

5. How does the narrator accommodate the weakness of his oldest scrivener?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do the sailors in "The Encantadas" do with tortoises?

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

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

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

5. What purpose does the circle of listeners serve in "The Town-Ho's Story"?

6. Why does Melville come to believe that some buccaneers on the isle of Albermarle must have been gentlemen?

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

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

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

10. What skills are necessary for a scrivener?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville's use of time, switching back and forth between present and past tenses in the same story, is an unusual method to bring the reader a sense of immediacy. Select a story such as "The Two Temples" to analyze the effectiveness of this technique.

Essay Topic 2

A recurring theme in Melville's stories is the difference between appearance and reality. Choose a character such as Claggart, who appears to have only sterling qualities but is evil in his heart or a setting such as the mountain home in "The Piazza," which seems at first to be like a fairyland, to analyze the point Melville is making.

Essay Topic 3

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.

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