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 did Mencken satirize in "Quid Est Veritas"?

3. How was Theodore Dreiser like Joseph Conrad, according to Mencken?

4. Which war was General John Pershing most famously involved in?

5. In "Recollections of Notable Cops," why does Mencken find the idea of a police academy remarkable?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What criticisms did Mencken have for Theodore Dreiser?

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

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

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

10. What criticisms did Mencken level at General John Pershing?

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

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 3

Abraham Lincoln was the subject of a long essay. Discuss the logic and structure of Mencken's argument in regards to Abraham Lincoln. What premise does Mencken assume? What is his thesis? What evidence does he use to support his thesis, and what logic does he employ?

(see the answer keys)

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