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

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

3. What stance can Mencken be said to have taken in "Star-Spangled Man"?
(a) Pro-life.
(b) Anti-war.
(c) Anti-establishment.
(d) Pro-gun.

4. What did Mencken satirize in "Quid Est Veritas"?
(a) Country doctors.
(b) Aristocrats.
(c) Organized religion.
(d) Those who insisted Latin was not a dead language.

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

6. Which is NOT one of the reasons winters were difficult in 1880s Baltimore?
(a) The cold was severe, and furnaces did not help much.
(b) Cellars could flood.
(c) Water pipes could burst.
(d) Snow caused many roofs to cave in.

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

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

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

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

11. What kind of presence did Henry Cabot Lodge have, according to Mencken?
(a) Lodge was powerful and authoritative.
(b) Lodge was meek and soft-voiced.
(c) Lodge swore often and told dirty jokes, shocking women.
(d) Lodge was cantankerous and given to bickering.

12. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?
(a) Critics maligned Lincoln for his handling of the Civil War, and Mencken thinks he did a fine job.
(b) Mencken believed a much broader conspiracy was in place in regards to Lincoln's assassination.
(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.

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

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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the "last straw" that forced Mencken to quit the organization in #16?

2. Which boat captain helped Mencken while in Cuba?

3. Why does the typical man have a poor conception of beauty?

4. What do saints have in common with scientists?

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

(see the answer keys)

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