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 "Valentino," what did the press find in a men's bathroom that caused them to mock Valentino and his "Latin Lover" image?

2. How did Mencken appraise Valentino in their dinner meeting?

3. What might Mencken say about a writer's sense of beauty?

4. What was the general atmosphere of the Democratic National Convention of 1932, as reported by Mencken?

5. What happened when Mencken sent a junior reporter to get him liquor during the Republican National Convention?

Short Essay Questions

1. What aspect of death interested Mencken the most?

2. What opinions did Mencken render in "Masters of Tone"?

3. Contemporaries wrote that Calvin Coolidge bore several similarities to Abraham Lincoln. Why did Mencken disagree with this claim?

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

5. How did Mencken--with tongue firmly in cheek--try to justify a man's murdering of his wife in "A Good Man Gone Wrong"?

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

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

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

9. Describe the religious service Mencken witnessed in "The Hills of Zion."

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

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

"Gore in the Caribees" had Mencken doing some foreign reporting in Cuba.

A) What is Mencken's opinion of the Cuban administration? What is his opinion of the rebellion?

B) What can the incident tell us about Mencken's general opinions about ideal government, and how to rule properly?

Essay Topic 3

Mencken often mentions the idea of an American aristocracy, as in "The National Letters." What could an American aristocracy accomplish, to Mencken's mind? How does Mencken's ideas for the aristocracy relate to his opinions about intellectuals versus common people? What kinds of government systems does he compare the aristocracy to?

(see the answer keys)

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