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. What must modern religions do to "escape absurdity"?

2. What criticism did Mencken have for the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?

3. Which of the following could NOT be used to describe Mencken's tone in "Star-Spangled Man"?

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

5. Which was described as Mencken's earliest memory?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What criticisms did Mencken level at General John Pershing?

4. Why did Mencken criticize Woodrow Wilson?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A modern controversy swirled around the issue of whether or not Mencken was a racist.

A) What might the article "Anglo-Saxon" tell us about settling the issue of Mencken's racism?

B) What might the article "The Calamity of Appomattox" tell us about settling the issue of Mencken's racism?

C) How does Mencken's frequent sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek tone complicate this controversy?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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