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. Why shouldn't men trust other men?

3. Which is NOT a reason Mencken gives for admiring Theodore Dreiser?

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

5. According to the editor, why were the 1930s Mencken's "downfall"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why are "handsome men" suspicious, according to "The Lure of Beauty"?

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

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

4. In "A Blind Spot," why was Mencken impervious to the ills of democracy?

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

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

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

8. According to Mencken, why would a Christian man not cheat on his wife, according to "The Libertine"?

9. According to Mencken, why do so many people lie?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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