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. Who presided over the Republican Convention of 1920?
(a) Franklin Pierce.
(b) William Jennings Bryan.
(c) Grover Garfield.
(d) Henry Cabot Lodge.

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

3. Which of the following could NOT be used to describe Mencken's tone in "Star-Spangled Man"?
(a) Sarcastic.
(b) Sentimental.
(c) Hyperbolic.
(d) Tongue-in-cheek.

4. What does Mencken call a man who resists the charms of women?
(a) A most distinguished gentleman.
(b) A most rare beast indeed.
(c) A most disgusting cad.
(d) An exceedingly wise stone statue.

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

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

7. What was the subject of the first Mencken-written article that was ever published?
(a) A horse robbery.
(b) Political discontent in Europe.
(c) A high-society party.
(d) The gold standard.

8. What criticism did Mencken have for the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?
(a) It freed slaves all at once, when it should have done it in a gradual way.
(b) It only freed specific slaves, and not all slaves.
(c) It freed all slaves, when to preserve peace it should have freed only some.
(d) It directly led to the Battle of Shiloh.

9. 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 draws upon the literary tradition of Germany.
(c) Dreiser was the product of Emile Zola.
(d) Dreiser was the product of Frank Norris.

10. According to Mencken, what was Christianity's history with lying?
(a) Lying is a great sin before God.
(b) Every sermon uttered by a priest is a lie.
(c) One must lie to oneself in order to adhere to religious beliefs.
(d) Lying is not expressly forbidden, and is oftentimes even encouraged.

11. What did Mencken think about Lincoln's issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation?
(a) Lincoln was tricked into issuing the proclamation by business interests.
(b) Lincoln delayed releasing the proclamation until a politically-favorable time.
(c) Lincoln was doing the bidding of "Black Republicans" by releasing the proclamation.
(d) Lincoln issued the proclamation in a desperate and emotionally-troubled state.

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

13. 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.

14. In "The Baltimore of the Eighties," why does Mencken's mother lament about a trip to the market?
(a) The price of crabs had doubled.
(b) A pickpocket had stolen her purse.
(c) The vendors had started charging for roe.
(d) Mencken had stolen some penny candy.

15. Which was one of Mencken's criticisms for Woodrow Wilson?
(a) He took the presidential office by voter fraud and corruption.
(b) He was stuffy and puritanical.
(c) He had "never looked a common man in the eye."
(d) He had the gall to pardon Eugene Debs.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why do "handsome men" deserve suspicion?

2. What did Mencken think about monogamy, as revealed in "Cavia Cobaya"?

3. What did Mencken think about Woodrow Wilson's biography of George Washington?

4. What was Mencken's nickname for Chesapeake Bay?

5. In what way did Mencken mock General John Pershing?

(see the answer keys)

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