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. What aspect of death did Mencken find most interesting?

2. Who was Mencken referring to with the title, "A Good Man in a Bad Trade"?

3. What aspect of old-time education did Mencken miss most in modern education?

4. How did Mencken describe the music of Bach?

5. Why did Valentino invite Mencken to dinner?

Short Essay Questions

1. What were the general features of Anglo-Saxons, according to Mencken in "The Anglo-Saxon"?

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

3. In "Exeunt Omnes," Mencken described his second book on death, which has collected sayings and thoughts on death. What did Mencken maintain was the main idea of the book?

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

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

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

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

8. What was the content of "Sententiae"?

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

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

Democracy was mentioned in "A Blind Spot" and "A Glance Ahead," among other articles. What is Mencken's attitude toward democracy? What are the consequences of a democratic form of government? How does democracy succeed (or fail) because of (or despite) the common people?

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

Religion was the frequent target of Mencken's attacks, such as in "Quid Est Veritas?" and "Holy Writ."

A) Why is religion dangerous, according to Mencken? Cite specific examples in the texts.

B) Can religion be salvaged somehow, to Mencken's mind, or is religion universally bad?

C) Describe fundamentalism, and discuss how fundamentalism factors in to Mencken's religious views.

(see the answer keys)

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