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 cheeky nickname did Mencken give Theodore Dreiser?

2. What was Theodore Dreiser's national and ethnic background?

3. What part of Mencken's work is NOT included in the volume?

4. In "Gore in the Caribees," how was Jose Miguel captured?

5. Which decade, according to the author, was Mencken at his best?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What questions did Mencken raise about the contemporary understanding of Abraham Lincoln?

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

4. In "Gore in the Caribees," what becames of the rebel leader, Jose Miguel Gomez?

5. What was the nature of Mencken's first memory, as described in "Introduction to the Universe"?

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

7. Why do men usually marry women who are "basically hideous"?

8. What is democracy's aim, in "A Blind Spot"? What is a crime in the eyes of democracy?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mencken often commented on political figures, such as in "Pater Patriae" and "Lodge."

A) Discuss two articles in which Mencken seems to have a positive opinion of the political figure. What does Mencken's admiration tell us about Mencken?

B) Discuss two articles in which Mencken displays a negative opinion of the political figure. Similar to A), what does Mencken's criticisms tell us about Mencken?

Essay Topic 2

Mencken often mentions the idea of an American aristocracy, as in "The National Letters." What could an American aristocracy accomplish, to Mencken's mind? How does Mencken's ideas for the aristocracy relate to his opinions about intellectuals versus common people? What kinds of government systems does he compare the aristocracy to?

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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