The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

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

2. 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.

3. What did Gene the magistrate do with respect to an old man in his court accused of wife beating?
(a) Gene applauded the man for keeping his wife well-behaved.
(b) Gene had the court bailiff beat the man, just as he had beat his wife.
(c) Gene put him in jail for two years.
(d) Gene threatened the man with made-up punishments to get him to reform.

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

5. 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 presumption of guilt, rather than innocence, in legal matters.
(d) The lack of a proper diet.

Short Answer Questions

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

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

3. In "The Baltimore of the Eighties," why does Mencken's mother lament about a trip to the market?

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

5. What does Mencken state about the literary influence(s) of Theodore Dreiser?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Mencken, Theodore Dreiser had what emotional effect on the reader?

2. What was the nature of Mencken's first memory, as described in "Introduction to the Universe"?

3. Why are "handsome men" suspicious, according to "The Lure of Beauty"?

4. How did Mencken answer the question of whether successful men should have mistresses?

5. Why did Alistair Cooke feel that Mencken experienced a "downfall" in the 1930s?

6. What was Mencken's opinion of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The American Scholar"?

7. Why did Mencken criticize Woodrow Wilson?

8. According to Mencken, why do so many people lie?

9. What was accomplished by Walt Whitman's "Democratic Vistas," according to Mencken?

10. What criticisms did Mencken level at General John Pershing?

(see the answer keys)

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