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. Charlie the policeman was charged with which task, in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

2. What cheeky nickname did Mencken give Theodore Dreiser?

3. What moral choice faced Mencken and a cop on New Year's Day, in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

4. What was the nature of the Prince of Wales story Mencken tells in "The Art Eternal"?

5. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?

Short Essay Questions

1. What type of people attended the Progressive Party convention of 1948?

2. What opinion was rendered about William Jennings Bryan in "In Memoriam: W.J.B."?

3. Why did Mencken criticize Woodrow Wilson?

4. In "Exeunt Omnes," Mencken described his second book on death, which has collected sayings and thoughts on death. What did Mencken maintain was the main idea of the book?

5. What were the general features of Anglo-Saxons, according to Mencken in "The Anglo-Saxon"?

6. What was the nature of film actor Valentino's problem, as related in "Valentino"?

7. What caused Mencken to question the American psyche in "The Libido for the Ugly"?

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

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

10. What was Mencken's opinion of stage acting?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Beauty and ugliness were topics of the articles "The Lure of Beauty" and "The Libido of the Ugly."

A) How does Mencken define beauty? How is beauty related to art criticism?

B) Is beauty objective or subjective? Cite examples in the text of how Mencken might answer this question.

C) How is beauty related to physical attraction?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Man-woman relationships were a frequent topic of study, as in "The Art Eternal" and "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw." How does Mencken view the dynamic between men and women? What are the differences between men and women? In what way do men and women engage in courtship?

(see the answer keys)

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