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

2. What did Mencken, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, feel about the tradition of giving medals in the military?

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

4. Which was NOT one of the reasons why a Christian wouldn't man cheat on his wife, according to "The Libertine"?

5. What dominated Puritanism, according to Mencken in "The National Letters"?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Mencken's opinion of stage acting?

2. Why did Mencken criticize Woodrow Wilson?

3. What stance did Mencken take in "Mencken's Last Stand"?

4. How must men react to a woman's allure?

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

6. Why are artists "anti-patriotic," according to Mencken in "The Artist"?

7. What was Mencken's ideal form of government?

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

9. Why was 1880s Baltimore such a loud town?

10. Why did Mencken take issue with Oliver Wendell Holmes' final court case?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

What was Mencken's perspective on education? Is there a difference between education done in school, and education derived from "real life" so to speak? How does Mencken view his lack of a college education? What does Mencken see as the problem with modern school-based education?

Essay Topic 2

Man-woman relationships were a frequent topic of study, as in "The Art Eternal" and "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw." How does Mencken view the dynamic between men and women? What are the differences between men and women? In what way do men and women engage in courtship?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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