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

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

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

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

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

6. In "Recollections of Notable Cops," why does Mencken find the idea of a police academy remarkable?
(a) Academies usually teach useless skills; police academies teach useful skills.
(b) Mencken states that police academies are contrary to the ideals of democracy.
(c) Mencken regards policemen as corrupt, vicious brutes.
(d) Cops in Mencken's younger days were not educated.

7. What do saints have in common with scientists?
(a) Both simply seek the truth.
(b) Both unselfishly serve mankind.
(c) Both manipulate public opinion to advance their own position.
(d) Both corrupt the truth to suit their best interests.

8. What profession should the truth-teller NOT aspire to, according to Mencken?
(a) The President of the United States.
(b) A jewelry maker.
(c) Owner of a large company.
(d) A bartender.

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 over her children.
(c) The power to torture a man through love.
(d) The power to ruin a man's life with divorce.

10. Which was NOT a source of terrible smell in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?
(a) The glue factory.
(b) Wilkins Hair Factory.
(c) The Back Basin.
(d) The St. Helen's insane asylum.

11. Which was NOT a feature of the ideal aristocracy, according to Mencken?
(a) Intellectual superiority.
(b) The ability to produce excellent art.
(c) The presence of bold, free-thinking men.
(d) The presence of a complex set of protocols and accepted behaviors.

12. Why do "handsome men" deserve suspicion?
(a) They are terrible conversationalists.
(b) They are always self-serving and vain.
(c) They are "ugly" inside.
(d) The human body is inherently ugly.

13. What was "The Art Eternal" according to Mencken?
(a) Literature.
(b) Prostitution.
(c) Portrait painting.
(d) Lying.

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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Which historical figure did Mencken ridicule by stating he was known as a "plaster saint"?

2. How did Gene the magistrate handle an overzealous Methodist clergyman?

3. Which was one of Mencken's criticisms for Woodrow Wilson?

4. What quotation did Mencken borrow from Theodore Dreiser in "Cavia Cobaya"?

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

(see the answer keys)

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