The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What did Mencken feel about "American thinking"?
(a) It is bold and visionary.
(b) It is cautious, yet optimistic.
(c) It is timid and superficial.
(d) It is full of awesome promise.

2. Charlie the policeman was charged with which task, in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?
(a) Finding and arresting at least a dozen drunkards every shift.
(b) Investigating a serial pursesnatcher.
(c) Recruiting craftsmen to refurbish the jail.
(d) Organizing the annual policeman's ball.

3. Why was Theodore Dreiser compared to Franz Schubert by Mencken?
(a) Dreiser and Schubert both created work that is "lighter than air."
(b) Dreiser and Schubert exhibited an uncommon and sometimes perverse imagination.
(c) Dreiser and Schubert used whimsy, irony, and a sense of silliness.
(d) Dreiser and Schubert didn't know the theory of their arts, but nonetheless they produce valuable work.

4. According to Mencken, what kind of books did Theodore Dreiser produce?
(a) Wheezing, moralizing diatribes.
(b) Weighty, substantial tomes that one must concentrate on for a long time.
(c) Books more important as museum pieces than texts that should be read.
(d) Breezy, summer-day reading.

5. What was Alistair Cooke's relationship to H. L. Mencken?
(a) A childhood acquaintance.
(b) A political enemy.
(c) A poet whom Mencken greatly admires.
(d) A journalist and friend.

6. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?
(a) Critics praised him as a hero and don't question some dubious sections of his biography.
(b) Mencken believed a much broader conspiracy was in place in regards to Lincoln's assassination.
(c) Critics maligned Lincoln for his handling of the Civil War, and Mencken thinks he did a fine job.
(d) Abraham Lincoln did not get nearly enough credit for freeing the slaves, according to Mencken.

7. Why shouldn't men trust other men?
(a) Men lie constantly.
(b) Men are only interested in accumulating wealth.
(c) Men can be subject to temptation, and thus betrayal.
(d) Men can become violent at any moment.

8. What did Mencken, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, feel about the tradition of giving medals in the military?
(a) Medals should be given only at the conclusion of career service.
(b) Medals should be given on a daily basis, because every day soldiers sacrifice.
(c) Medals should be given to common soldiers, and not just generals.
(d) Medals should be reserved just for generals, as the "idea men" of the military.

9. In "Gore in the Caribees," what was Mencken's perspective on the revolution in Cuba?
(a) Mencken was fervently pro-Cuba, and travels to the country to engage in propaganda.
(b) Mencken thought it is newsworthy, and he asks to cover it.
(c) Mencken refused to cover the event, and is fired by his newspaper.
(d) Mencken thought the event is not newsworthy, and only reluctantly does he travel to cover it.

10. In "Star-Spangled Man," Mencken argued that who, besides soldiers, should get medals?
(a) Dock workers and tugboat captains.
(b) Writers and intellectuals.
(c) Murderers, thieves, and rapists.
(d) Anyone hostile to the United States.

11. What was Mencken's criticism for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?
(a) It was a slap in the face to Southern Democrats.
(b) It was more poetry than logic.
(c) It was full of racist remarks and innuendo.
(d) It was more about logistics and policy than stirring rhetoric.

12. Which man did Mencken dub the "Star-Spangled Man"?
(a) John Pershing.
(b) George Washington.
(c) Woodrow Wilson.
(d) William Jennings Bryan.

13. What criticism did Mencken have for the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?
(a) It only freed specific slaves, and not all slaves.
(b) It freed slaves all at once, when it should have done it in a gradual way.
(c) It directly led to the Battle of Shiloh.
(d) It freed all slaves, when to preserve peace it should have freed only some.

14. In "The National Letters," what was the cause of all the "diseases" which afflict America?
(a) The lack of a stable aristocracy.
(b) The presumption of guilt, rather than innocence, in legal matters.
(c) The lack of a proper diet.
(d) Organized religion.

15. Who is the editor of this volume?
(a) Alfred Knopf.
(b) H. L. Mencken.
(c) Alistair Cooke.
(d) William Jennings Bryan.

Short Answer Questions

1. Mencken provided what colorful phrase to describe a woman's body?

2. What one thing did Mencken feel was useful from the contributions of Sigmund Freud?

3. According to "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw," what is a woman's only power?

4. Which war was General John Pershing most famously involved in?

5. Which was described as Mencken's earliest memory?

(see the answer keys)

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