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 causes Captain Delano to suspect Benito Cereno is an impostor?

2. What does Melville hope to do for the Marquis de Grandvin?

3. Who lives in the cottage that the narrator of "The Piazza" finds in the mountains?

4. How does the lightning rod salesman feel about thunderstorms?

5. What rumor pursues Daniel Orme into his life on shore?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

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

7. What does the narrator of "The Fiddler" first admire about Hautboy?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 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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