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 emblem does John Gentian refuse to wear?

2. What impresses the narrator about the mill?

3. How does Melville describe Captain Delano's personality?

4. In "I and My Chimney," what is the narrator's wife's maxim?

5. What effect does the Marquis de Grandvin have on those around him?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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