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 must modern religions do to "escape absurdity"?
(a) They should accept a small element of agnosticism.
(b) They must allow gay marriage.
(c) They must disband immediately.
(d) They should encourage a much more relaxed church service.

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

3. Mencken provided what colorful phrase to describe a woman's body?
(a) An hourglass of horrors.
(b) A slap-happy seal.
(c) A drunken dollar-mark.
(d) A star-spangled mess.

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

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

6. According to the editor, why were the 1930s Mencken's "downfall"?
(a) Mencken's severe illness limited his output.
(b) Mencken spent most of the decade in Europe.
(c) President FDR waged a battle of personal attacks against Mencken.
(d) The hardships in the country changed popular sentiment.

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

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

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

10. In "The Good Man," what general statement did Mencken make about mankind?
(a) Man is not perfect, and any strengths are balanced by flaws.
(b) Men are gluttonous, and must continually fight the urge to eat.
(c) Men are not predisposed to appreciate art, and often must be forced.
(d) Men are good and kind, and almost always do the right thing.

11. What aspect of man-woman relationships are the movies incorrect about, according to Mencken?
(a) There is no such thing as romantic love.
(b) Women always begin a romance; men are too cowardly.
(c) Men don't like to date women younger than themselves.
(d) Handsome men are not sought after by women.

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

13. What quotation did Mencken borrow from Theodore Dreiser in "Cavia Cobaya"?
(a) Does the average strong, successful man confine himself to one woman?
(b) Does a man of moderate means never aspire to great wealth?
(c) Does the temperate, invulnerable man ever give in to the sins of alcohol?
(d) Does a woman of considerable means ever want for a man of inconsiderable means?

14. What was the subject of Walt Whitman's "Democratic Vistas"?
(a) The awe-inspiring beauty of several places in America.
(b) Whitman's faith in the common man to rule himself.
(c) Whitman's argument that republicanism is much preferred to democracy.
(d) Whitman's desire that a class of intellectuals would rise up to rule America.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Which man did Mencken dub the "Star-Spangled Man"?

2. What is a man's usual response to beauty?

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

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

5. In "Gore in the Caribees," what was Mencken's perspective on the revolution in Cuba?

(see the answer keys)

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