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

2. What do saints have in common with scientists?

3. According to Mencken, what kind of books did Theodore Dreiser produce?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What was accomplished by Walt Whitman's "Democratic Vistas," according to Mencken?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

"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 3

Mencken's style and tone are widely celebrated. Using several examples from the text, discuss Mencken's approach to style and tone. How does Mencken present himself to the reader? Who does he posit as his reader? What rhetorical devices does he use to persuade the reader of his position?

(see the answer keys)

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