Great Short Works of Herman Melville Test | Final 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 strange ship low on provisions?

2. How did Captain Delano evaluate the relationship between Benito Cereno and Babo?

3. To what did Captain Delano attribute Benito Cereno's ineffectiveness as captain?

4. What first attracts the narrator of "The Piazza" to a building far in the mountains?

5. How does Captain Delano evaluate Babo when he first meets him?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does the chimney in "I and My Chimney" provide for the narrator on the second landing?

3. What is unusual about the bug that emerges from the apple-tree table in the story of that name?

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

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

6. Why doesn't the narrator in "The Piazza" grant Marianna's wish and tell her that he is the resident of the house that she believes contains happiness?

7. What does the narrator of "The Fiddler" first admire about Hautboy?

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

9. Why does the narrator of "The Lightning Rod Man" compare the salesman to a worm?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Melville, as a product of his time and place, has opinions that are strongly racist, in the sense of making generalizations about groups of people. For example, "Spaniards are all an odd set; the very word Spaniard has a curious, conspirator, Guy-Fawkish twang to it." or "The 'Gee has a great appetite, but little imagination; a large eyeball, but small insight." or "When a mulatto has a regular European face, look out for him; he is a devil." In your essay, analyze these opinions and others like them.

Essay Topic 2

Melville has a gift for inventing language: "The picturesque yields to the pocketesque." The government of the island was a "riotocracy." Find and analyze examples of invented language. Are the new words useful? Comprehensible? Effective? Discuss their effect on you as a reader.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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