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 historical figure did Mencken ridicule by stating he was known as a "plaster saint"?

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

3. What is a man's usual response to beauty?

4. What quotation did Mencken borrow from Theodore Dreiser in "Cavia Cobaya"?

5. What was the nature of the Prince of Wales story Mencken tells in "The Art Eternal"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What was Mencken's opinion about Henry Cabot Lodge?

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

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

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

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

9. What was Gene the magistrate's approach to law and justice in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

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

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

Democracy was mentioned in "A Blind Spot" and "A Glance Ahead," among other articles. What is Mencken's attitude toward democracy? What are the consequences of a democratic form of government? How does democracy succeed (or fail) because of (or despite) the common people?

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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