The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw," what is a woman's only power?

2. Which book was Mencken's touchstone into literature?

3. In "Recollections of Notable Cops," why does Mencken find the idea of a police academy remarkable?

4. What kind of presence did Henry Cabot Lodge have, according to Mencken?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What circumstances drove Mencken away from attending the Y. M. C. A.?

3. In "Gore in the Caribees," what becames of the rebel leader, Jose Miguel Gomez?

4. What was Mencken's remedy for curing the ills of modern religions?

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

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

7. According to Mencken, why would a Christian man not cheat on his wife, according to "The Libertine"?

8. Why do men usually marry women who are "basically hideous"?

9. What was the nature of Mencken's first-ever printed article?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Abraham Lincoln was the subject of a long essay. Discuss the logic and structure of Mencken's argument in regards to Abraham Lincoln. What premise does Mencken assume? What is his thesis? What evidence does he use to support his thesis, and what logic does he employ?

Essay Topic 2

The nature of art, and especially of writing, is a subject that concerned Mencken.

A) What argument does Mencken make in "The Artist"? How is this argument related to Mencken's anti-war stance?

B) What argument does Mencken make in "The Author at Work"? How are we to reconcile his argument with the fact that, naturally, Mencken is himself a writer?

Essay Topic 3

Like any accomplished columnist, Mencken knew how to tell a good story, as in "The Noble Experiment" and "The Hills of Zion."

A) What agenda, if any, did Mencken have in sharing the stories of "The Noble Experiment"? Use examples from the text.

B) What agenda, if any, did Mencken have in sharing the story of "The Hills of Zion"? Use examples from the text.

(see the answer keys)

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