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

2. What did Jimmy Rose have to offer the rich after he lost his fortune?

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

4. How do the bachelors in the Temple keep time?

5. Why does the narrator of "The Piazza" believe the soil is richer around the cottage that he finds?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. 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?

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

When Billy Budd is impressed into the royal navy, the captain of the ship he is leaving says that a former enemy, called Red Whiskers, " . . . now really loves Billy--loves him or is the biggest hypocrite that ever I heard of." Is this an instance of skillful foreshadowing? In your essay, analyze why the captain's lament is or is not an example of Melville's foreshadowing the main conflict in Billy Budd.

(see the answer keys)

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