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 famous person expressed a good opinion of the narrator of Bartleby?

2. What previous employment had shaped Bartleby?

3. What does Blandmour believe God does for the poor?

4. What benefit does the narrator get from his indulgence of Bartleby's eccentricities?

5. What animal from the islands supplies sailors with food and utensils?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does the narrator continue to accept Bartleby's refusals?

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

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

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

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

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

8. Why is the direct route for an ocean voyage not always the fastest or best, according to Melville in "The Encantadas"?

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

10. What stylistic devices does Melville use to give the reader the feeling of the rooster's crow in "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo"?

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

Melville often uses a distinctive double negative in description. For example, Captain Delano is described as "undistrustful." Later, he is said to be "not unbewildered," and "not uninfluenced." What is to be gained by using these terms instead of "trusting," "bewildered," and "influenced"? Is there a difference between being undistrustful and trusting? If so, what is it? Find other examples of this peculiarity and analyze its use.

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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