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 Captain Delano glad he was not astute enough to recognize the mutiny?

2. Who wrote the book lying on the apple-tree table?

3. Why was Bannadonna excused for the homicide he committed?

4. What does the narrator decide to give the apple-tree table when he first discovers it?

5. What emblem does John Gentian refuse to wear?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. According to the deposition in "Benito Cereno," what would have happened to Captain Delano if he had suspected a mutiny aboard the San Dominick?

7. Why do the peacocks on the wallpaper in the parlor seem to the narrator to represent Jimmy Rose?

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

9. What does the narrator of "The Piazza" think when he first sees a single bright spot in the northwestern hills?

10. Why does the owner of the paper factory in "The Tartarus of Maids" tell the narrator that all of his workers are called "girls"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

Melville is very fond of alliteration, such as " . . . mending rotten rail fences with their own rotten rails . . ." which is an incidence of "incipient idiocy." Find instances of this use of language and evaluate its effectiveness for you as a reader.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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