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 is Poor Man's Pudding?

2. What do the Peruvian listeners force the storyteller to do to prove his story is true?

3. What food does Bartleby appear to eat exclusively?

4. Why does Radney dislike Steelkilt?

5. How much does the uncle in "The Happy Failure" think his invention is worth?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What verb tenses does Melville use in "The Two Temples" to bring immediacy to the story?

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

4. How is the accuracy of copy verified by scriveners?

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

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

7. In "Rich Man's Crumbs," why is the narrator called a "graceless ragamuffin"?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville was capable of a wide range of diction, or word choice, ranging from the staccato exclamations of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" to the alliterations of "The Encantadas," (an archipelago of aridities), to biblical allusions ("A virtue went out of him . . ." "I became a pillar of salt . . ."). Select one form of diction that impressed you about these stories, show examples of its use, and analyze its effectiveness.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Melville's elegaic pieces about the Marquis de Grandvin and others make clear the qualities he most admires. In your essay, use examples from these writings to show what qualities Melville thinks make for human greatness.

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