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 did Mencken think about monogamy, as revealed in "Cavia Cobaya"?

2. Why do "handsome men" deserve suspicion?

3. In "Star-Spangled Man," Mencken argued that who, besides soldiers, should get medals?

4. What does Mencken call a man who resists the charms of women?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What was the chief problem of a Baltimore summer, according to Mencken in "The Baltimore of the Eighties"?

3. In "Gore in the Caribees," what becames of the rebel leader, Jose Miguel Gomez?

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

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

6. What is the difference between men and women in regards to trust, according to "The Skeptic"?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Like any accomplished columnist, Mencken knew how to tell a good story, as in "The Noble Experiment" and "The Hills of Zion."

A) What agenda, if any, did Mencken have in sharing the stories of "The Noble Experiment"? Use examples from the text.

B) What agenda, if any, did Mencken have in sharing the story of "The Hills of Zion"? Use examples from the text.

Essay Topic 2

The nature of art, and especially of writing, is a subject that concerned Mencken.

A) What argument does Mencken make in "The Artist"? How is this argument related to Mencken's anti-war stance?

B) What argument does Mencken make in "The Author at Work"? How are we to reconcile his argument with the fact that, naturally, Mencken is himself a writer?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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