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 is NOT one of the reasons winters were difficult in 1880s Baltimore?

2. What dominated Puritanism, according to Mencken in "The National Letters"?

3. What did Mencken think about Woodrow Wilson's biography of George Washington?

4. What was the name of H. L. Mencken's brother?

5. In "Gore in the Caribees," what was Mencken's perspective on the revolution in Cuba?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What criticisms did Mencken have for Theodore Dreiser?

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

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

7. Instead of military generals, who did Mencken wish to award medals to in "Star-Spangled Man"?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mencken could be said to operate from an anti-war stance, as in "Star-Spangled Man."

A) How does Mencken make this bias clear? Cite examples from the text.

B) What is Mencken's opinion of World War I? How was the war started? Why might it have been prevented?

C) Is Mencken's anti-war bias explicit or implicit? Cite examples.

Essay Topic 2

Quackery was a favorite subject of Mencken's. What is quackery? Why does Mencken mock it? How does quackery relate to ignorance? In Mencken's view, do those who fall victim to quackery "deserve" their fate?

Essay Topic 3

In articles like "The Baltimore of the Eighties," Mencken looks back on his childhood. What attitude does Mencken have toward childhood? How did his childhood impact the man he became? Why is it valuable to take this look back?

(see the answer keys)

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