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. Why is the narrator not pleased with Bartleby's industriousness?

2. What part of the United States does the narrator of the Town-Ho's story claim is much like the sea?

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

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

5. How long has the uncle in "The Happy Failure" worked on his invention?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What is Nippers's shortcoming as a scrivener?

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

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

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

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

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 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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