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 of "The Two Temples" not allowed to enter the church?

2. What does Melville believe the charities of London do for the poor?

3. How does the narrator describe the men who work the Erie Canal?

4. How does Bartleby respond to the other employees?

5. What do the other employees think of Bartleby's refusals?

Short Essay Questions

1. In "The Lightning Rod Man," why does the narrator pretend to mistake the salesman for the god Jupiter Tonans?

2. What protected Billy Budd from Claggart's efforts to prove Billy was a simpleton?

3. What haunts the narrator at the conclusion of "The Piazza"?

4. Why did the first seven of Steelkilt's men come out of their imprisonment?

5. How have the Knights Templar changed, according to Melville's observations, in "The Paradise of Bachelors"?

6. Why did the other seamen suspect that Claggart was a nobleman?

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

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

9. What foibles does the narrator claim Jack Gentian possesses?

10. Why did the Spanish naval board of inquiry at first reject parts of Benito Cereno's deposition?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Melville states that Moby Dick operates to do the work of God by killing Radney. A Deus ex Machina (god out of the machine), where an outside source ends the conflict between characters, is a literary device often disparaged. In your essay, consider its effectiveness in this instance and in other Melville short stories where this method is employed.

Essay Topic 2

Setting is particularly important in Melville's stories. Select a story in which the setting is critical, such as the confinement of shipboard or the home as a center for domestic disputes. Analyze the use and power of the setting in the story you chose.

Essay Topic 3

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.

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