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

2. What cheeky nickname did Mencken give Theodore Dreiser?
(a) The Jack Ripper of the novel.
(b) The Clown Prince of prose.
(c) The Frankenstein of the short story.
(d) The Hindenburg of the novel.

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

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

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

6. 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) Penny candy vendors hawking their candy.
(d) Children singing and yelling in the streets.

7. According to Mencken, what was the Union fighting for in the Civil War?
(a) Profit.
(b) Self-governance.
(c) Freedom.
(d) Against the notion of self-determinism.

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

9. What was Theodore Dreiser's national and ethnic background?
(a) French.
(b) Swedish.
(c) American.
(d) German.

10. 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.

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

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

13. What did Mencken think about monogamy, as revealed in "Cavia Cobaya"?
(a) Monogamy stifled the natural urgings of a man.
(b) Functionally, monogamy was the same as polygamy, because everyone cheats.
(c) Monogamy was the laughable product of democracy.
(d) Great men aspired to and achieved it.

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

15. What organization did Mencken's father force him to join at age fourteen?
(a) The Junior Achievement League.
(b) The Boy Scouts of America.
(c) The Baptist Church.
(d) Y.M.C.A.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Mencken call a man who resists the charms of women?

2. What moral choice faced Mencken and a cop on New Year's Day, in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

3. In "Pater Patriae," which was NOT one of the reasons Mencken admired George Washington?

4. Why was Theodore Dreiser compared to Franz Schubert by Mencken?

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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