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. On what holiday does John Gentian converse with passers-by?

2. What sort of feet did the apple-tree table have?

3. Why is the strange ship low on provisions?

4. How does Captain Delano evaluate Babo when he first meets him?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What is the figurehead on the San Dominick?

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

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

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

An allegory is a story that is in itself a symbol or represents an idea. Select one of Melville's allegories, such as "The Piazza" or "The Bell Tower" to analyze in terms of its symbolic significance.

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

Melville employs a wide variety of stylistic techniques in his writing, including a poetic use of repetition. In "I and My Chimney," for example, he writes of " . . . a mysterious door, entering to a mysterious closet; and here I keep mysterious cordials of a choice, mysterious flavor." In your essay, analyze this and other examples of artful repetition you find in these stories.

(see the answer keys)

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