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 does the narrator of "I and My Chimney" identify with his chimney?

2. What is the attitude of the bachelors in the Temple toward pain and trouble?

3. What does Benito Cereno say has happened to his partner, Alexandro Aranda?

4. What mythical character does the narrator say would have failed at his task if the chimney had then been in existence?

5. What contributes to the narrator's thoughts about the apple-tree table being supernatural?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Melville say is the difference between boarding a strange ship and entering a strange house?

4. 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?

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

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

7. What seems odd about Benito Cereno's ship when Captain Delano first sees it?

8. What does Jimmy Rose retain after he has lost his fortune?

9. Why is the narrator despondent at the beginning of "The Fiddler"?

10. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Several of the stories in this collection deal with relationships between men and women. Using at least two stories as a basis, evaluate Melville's understanding of the status of women in his society and culture. Did he agree with, condemn, or remain neutral about the rights of women?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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