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

"Gore in the Caribees" had Mencken doing some foreign reporting in Cuba.

A) What is Mencken's opinion of the Cuban administration? What is his opinion of the rebellion?

B) What can the incident tell us about Mencken's general opinions about ideal government, and how to rule properly?

Essay Topic 2

Articles such as "Theodore Dreiser" and "Masters of Tone" present Mencken the art critic.

A) What can Mencken's criticisms reveal about his theory of art? Cite specific examples.

B) What can Mencken's criticisms reveal about his own preferences? Can art be objectively excellent, or does it always depend upon the viewer/spectator?

Essay Topic 3

Religion was the frequent target of Mencken's attacks, such as in "Quid Est Veritas?" and "Holy Writ."

A) Why is religion dangerous, according to Mencken? Cite specific examples in the texts.

B) Can religion be salvaged somehow, to Mencken's mind, or is religion universally bad?

C) Describe fundamentalism, and discuss how fundamentalism factors in to Mencken's religious views.

(see the answer keys)

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