Great Short Works of Herman Melville Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the profession of the narrator of Bartleby?

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

3. Who is the worst enemy of the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?"

4. What animal does Melville claim is not at home at sea, on land, or in the air?

5. How does the narrator of "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo?" treat his creditor after hearing the crow?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Melville call Redondo the "aviary of the ocean"?

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

3. What differences does Melville claim exist between the archetypal handsome sailor and Billy Budd?

4. What does the narrator claim shows Jack Gentian's natural gentility?

5. What is Captain Delano's intention in boarding Benito Cereno's ship?

6. What does the landscape painter, B. Hobbema Brown, believe about the Marquis de Grandvin?

7. How does Melville describe Captain Vere in "Billy Budd"?

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

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

10. Why does the narrator of "I and My Chimney" believe his chimney is good for invalids?

Essay 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

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's work is full of allusions to mythic characters and settings with which he expects his reader to be familiar. Select a story such as "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" or "The Two Temples" to find the references to mythology. Look up the characters or locations and explain in your essay how these references strengthen the story.

(see the answer keys)

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