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

2. 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) Snow caused many roofs to cave in.
(c) Cellars could flood.
(d) Water pipes could burst.

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

4. In "The Good Man," what general statement did Mencken make about mankind?
(a) Men are gluttonous, and must continually fight the urge to eat.
(b) Man is not perfect, and any strengths are balanced by flaws.
(c) Men are good and kind, and almost always do the right thing.
(d) Men are not predisposed to appreciate art, and often must be forced.

5. What do saints have in common with scientists?
(a) Both corrupt the truth to suit their best interests.
(b) Both unselfishly serve mankind.
(c) Both manipulate public opinion to advance their own position.
(d) Both simply seek the truth.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. Who is the editor of this volume?

3. Which was NOT a source of loud noise in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?

4. What criticism did Mencken have for the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the difference between men and women in regards to trust, according to "The Skeptic"?

3. What criticisms did Mencken have for Theodore Dreiser?

4. Instead of military generals, who did Mencken wish to award medals to in "Star-Spangled Man"?

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

6. What is democracy's aim, in "A Blind Spot"? What is a crime in the eyes of democracy?

7. Why did Mencken believe it was advantageous for him to have not attended college?

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

9. What questions did Mencken raise about the contemporary understanding of Abraham Lincoln?

10. In "A Blind Spot," why was Mencken impervious to the ills of democracy?

(see the answer keys)

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