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 does the captain decide not to flog Steelkilt?

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

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

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

5. How does Steelkilt respond to Radney's request that he sweep the deck?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. In "The Happy Failure," what is the uncle's great invention?

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

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

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

8. Why does Melville believe that American poor suffer more than European poor?

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

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

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'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 3

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.

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