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 famous speech did Ralph Waldo Emerson deliver in 1837?
(a) The Awfulness of War.
(b) The Merits of Monogamy.
(c) The American Scholar.
(d) The Pride of European Intellectualism.

2. According to "Quid Est Veritas?," what kind of religion professes to know God exactly and completely?
(a) Perfect religions.
(b) Primitive religions.
(c) Admirable religions.
(d) American religions.

3. What was the "last straw" that forced Mencken to quit the organization in #16?
(a) A painful accident with the horizontal bar.
(b) An evangelical teen in the reading room.
(c) The fact that the running track was rectangular.
(d) The relentless shouting of his gym teacher.

4. Which historical figure did Mencken ridicule by stating he was known as a "plaster saint"?
(a) Napoleon Bonaparte.
(b) Theodore Dreiser.
(c) Abraham Lincoln.
(d) George Washington.

5. What dominated Puritanism, according to Mencken in "The National Letters"?
(a) Free-thinking men of purpose.
(b) Fear, and the suspicion of art.
(c) The simple necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.
(d) Religious tomfoolery.

6. 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 refused to cover the event, and is fired by his newspaper.
(c) Mencken thought it is newsworthy, and he asks to cover it.
(d) Mencken thought the event is not newsworthy, and only reluctantly does he travel to cover it.

7. Which war was General John Pershing most famously involved in?
(a) World War I.
(b) The Civil War.
(c) World War II.
(d) The War of the Roses.

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

9. According to "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw," what is a woman's only power?
(a) The power of a house's pursestrings.
(b) The power to torture a man through love.
(c) The power to ruin a man's life with divorce.
(d) The power over her children.

10. What one thing did Mencken feel was useful from the contributions of Sigmund Freud?
(a) The notion that people could be easily hypnotized.
(b) The notion that lying stemmed from an unconscious place.
(c) The notion that dreams could reveal aspects of our everyday lives.
(d) The notion that "mother issues" were deeply-seated.

11. Which book was Mencken's touchstone into literature?
(a) Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers.
(b) Thomas Paine's Common Sense.
(c) Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
(d) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

12. How was Theodore Dreiser like Joseph Conrad, according to Mencken?
(a) They both seemed to hate women.
(b) Both men shared an innate pessimism.
(c) Both men were inherently optimistic.
(d) They both had a love of pirate adventures and the sea life.

13. What did Mencken think about Woodrow Wilson's biography of George Washington?
(a) It was poorly written and factually inaccurate.
(b) The biography had such a small print run as to be insignificant.
(c) He was relieved that someone finally showed George Washington for who he really was.
(d) "Woodrow Wilson couldn't shine George Washington's shoes."

14. In "Pater Patriae," which was NOT one of the reasons Mencken admired George Washington?
(a) He put his trust and authority in intellectuals and lawyers.
(b) He was not convinced of the wisdom of common people.
(c) He was tough-living, and whiskey-drinking.
(d) He could cuss up a storm.

15. According to "The Skeptic," what do women always bear?
(a) A strong sense of household finances.
(b) A healthy mistrust of their husbands.
(c) The strength of their religious convictions.
(d) The burden of caring for families.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the subject of the first Mencken-written article that was ever published?

2. Which boat captain helped Mencken while in Cuba?

3. What did Mencken think about Lincoln's issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation?

4. What was the name of H. L. Mencken's brother?

5. What did Mencken feel about "American thinking"?

(see the answer keys)

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