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. Which was NOT a source of terrible smell in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?

2. According to Mencken, how did members of the lower class respond to Wilson?

3. What organization did Mencken's father force him to join at age fourteen?

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

5. What was "The Art Eternal" according to Mencken?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the religious service Mencken witnessed in "The Hills of Zion."

3. How did Charlie get craftsmen to work at the jail in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

4. What opinion was rendered about William Jennings Bryan in "In Memoriam: W.J.B."?

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

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

7. According to Mencken in "The Calamity of Appomattox," what would have happened if the Civil War had never happened?

8. According to "The Wallace Paranoia," what did candidate Henry Wallace do during the convention of the Progressive Party?

9. How did Mencken distinguish between plutocracy and aristocracy in "A Glance Ahead"?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Mencken mused about death in "Exeunt Omnes."

A) What was the aspect of death which interested Mencken the most?

B) How might "Exeunt Omnes" help us understand Mencken's anti-war stance? How does Mencken's attitude toward death relate to his anti-war stance?

C) Per Mencken's own apparent attitude, what might Mencken tell his readers is the best attitude to have toward death and mortality?

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

Mencken was interested in reviving an American intellectual movement.

A) Who were the forefathers of this movement? What texts are important?

B) What does Mencken feel is the current state of the American intellectual movement?

C) What can be done to further the movement?

(see the answer keys)

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