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 profession should the truth-teller NOT aspire to, according to Mencken?

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

3. What was Mencken's nickname for Chesapeake Bay?

4. According to Mencken, what was Christianity's history with lying?

5. Which was NOT a source of loud noise in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What was Mencken's remedy for curing the ills of modern religions?

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

7. Why did Mencken believe it was advantageous for him to have not attended college?

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 memory, as described in "Introduction to the Universe"?

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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