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. Which of the following is NOT a trait of the writer, according to Mencken in "The Author at Work"?

2. Why was early Christianity superior to modern Christianity, per "Holy Writ"?

3. What did Mencken attribute to the fall of the "good man" in "A Good Man Gone Wrong"?

4. According to "Exeunt Omnes," Mencken was disappointed with the amount of books dedicated to which subject?

5. Which was NOT a challenge to the schoolboy Mencken mentioned in "Travail"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What did Mencken conclude about his research into the court cases of Oliver Wendell Holmes?

4. According to "The Wallace Paranoia," what did candidate Henry Wallace do during the convention of the Progressive Party?

5. Why did Mencken miss corporal punishment in schools in "Travail"?

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

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

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

9. In "The Noble Experiment," what story did Mencken relate about acquiring alcohol at the Republican National Convention?

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

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

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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