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. Whose cause does the Marquis de Grandvin champion?

2. What do the maids work to produce?

3. How does Captain Delano evaluate Benito Cereno's condition when he first meets him?

4. What is unusual about the strange ship's figurehead?

5. What first alarms the narrator about the apple-tree table?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

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

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

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

9. What does the bug in the apple-tree table teach the narrator's daughter, Julia?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Melville often uses a distinctive double negative in description. For example, Captain Delano is described as "undistrustful." Later, he is said to be "not unbewildered," and "not uninfluenced." What is to be gained by using these terms instead of "trusting," "bewildered," and "influenced"? Is there a difference between being undistrustful and trusting? If so, what is it? Find other examples of this peculiarity and analyze its use.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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