The Vintage Mencken Test | Final 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. In "The Wallace Paranoia," who was Mencken referring to with the phrase "raisins in the bread."

2. Complete the following aphorism found in "Sententiae": "Adultery is..."

3. What is wrong, in Mencken's opinion, with most artists' depictions of death?

4. Why did Mencken call democracy a "self-limiting disease"?

5. What memorable simile did Mencken use for Grover Cleveland?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why are artists "anti-patriotic," according to Mencken in "The Artist"?

2. What examples did Mencken provide to support his judgment of Anglo-Saxons?

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

4. Why did Mencken take issue with Oliver Wendell Holmes' final court case?

5. Did Mencken's aesthetics conform to the ideals of the "new architecture"? Explain.

6. According to Mencken in "The Calamity of Appomattox," what would have happened if the Civil War had never happened?

7. What stance did Mencken take in "Mencken's Last Stand"?

8. What aspect of death interested Mencken the most?

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

10. What opinion did Mencken have about the English translation of the Bible?

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

Mencken discussed perfection in "The Good Man," and states that every good quality in a man is balanced by a flaw.

A) Does Mencken feel that perfection is possible? How can "The Good Man" be reconciled with something like "A Glance Ahead," in which Mencken imagines an ideal government?

B) Is there a danger in attempting perfection?

C) What might Mencken say about perfection and its relation to organized religion?

Essay Topic 3

What was Mencken's perspective on education? Is there a difference between education done in school, and education derived from "real life" so to speak? How does Mencken view his lack of a college education? What does Mencken see as the problem with modern school-based education?

(see the answer keys)

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