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

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

3. In "Gore in the Caribees," how was Jose Miguel captured?
(a) He was caught sleeping in a hammock.
(b) He was captured after a fierce battle in which he showed his courage.
(c) Jose Miguel was caught in bed with a prostitute.
(d) Jose Miguel was caught while making a terrorist bomb.

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

5. According to "Text for Newspaper Days," what is modern journalism missing?
(a) A carefree nature.
(b) Proper attention to art and art history.
(c) Proper fact checking.
(d) Multiple points of view.

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

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

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

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

10. Which is one of the stated reasons the editor put the volume together?
(a) To sell books for profit.
(b) To fight charges that Mencken was racist.
(c) To introduce the works of H. L. Mencken to a new generation.
(d) To expose the corrupt policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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

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

13. In which city did Mencken grow up?
(a) Baltimore.
(b) Pittsburgh.
(c) Cincinnati.
(d) Washington, D.C.

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

15. Which decade, according to the author, was Mencken at his best?
(a) The 1910s.
(b) The 1940s.
(c) The 1930s.
(d) The 1920s.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to the editor, why were the 1930s Mencken's "downfall"?

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

3. Why do the majority of people lie, according to Mencken?

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

5. According to "The Skeptic," what do women always bear?

(see the answer keys)

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