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

2. What is democracy's "aim," according to Mencken?
(a) To ensure great wealth for all.
(b) To protect the children of a society.
(c) To indoctrinate everyone in religious "poppycock."
(d) To pull everyone down to the same level.

3. What criticism did Dr. William Bayard Hale have for Woodrow Wilson?
(a) As an orator, Wilson was dull, and focuses too much on foreign policy.
(b) His rhetoric was lofty, but ultimately empty of substance.
(c) Wilson had the gall to pardon Eugene Debs.
(d) Wilson was more interested in tea parties and social functions than policy discussions.

4. According to Mencken, the intellectual tradition of Whitman and Emerson had been transferred to which man?
(a) Van Wyck Brooks.
(b) Jose Miguel Gomez.
(c) William Jennings Bryan.
(d) Theodore Dreiser.

5. What does Mencken state about the literary influence(s) of Theodore Dreiser?
(a) Dreiser was the product of Frank Norris.
(b) No one author can be pointed to as an influence.
(c) Dreiser draws upon the literary tradition of Germany.
(d) Dreiser was the product of Emile Zola.

6. 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) Breezy, summer-day reading.
(c) Wheezing, moralizing diatribes.
(d) Books more important as museum pieces than texts that should be read.

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

8. What was Mencken's nickname for Chesapeake Bay?
(a) The protein factory.
(b) Home of the yummy lobsters.
(c) The big blue.
(d) Crab central.

9. Who was the president of Cuba when Mencken visited the country in "Gore in the Caribees"?
(a) Teodorio.
(b) Leonhard.
(c) Jose Miguel.
(d) Menocal.

10. 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.

11. Which was NOT a source of loud noise in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?
(a) Children singing and yelling in the streets.
(b) Iron tires hitting hard cobblestone streets.
(c) Penny candy vendors hawking their candy.
(d) Barking dogs.

12. According to Mencken, how did members of the lower class respond to Wilson?
(a) They "clapped like fools" at a recent speech.
(b) They responded to his lower class domestic policies.
(c) They were attracted to his lofty rhetoric.
(d) They threw rotten vegetables at him at the convention.

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

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

15. 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 to common soldiers, and not just generals.
(c) Medals should be reserved just for generals, as the "idea men" of the military.
(d) Medals should be given on a daily basis, because every day soldiers sacrifice.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. Which of the following could NOT be used to describe Mencken's tone in "Star-Spangled Man"?

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

4. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?

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

(see the answer keys)

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