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 did Mencken call for in "Mencken's Last Stand"?

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

3. Which of the following is NOT something that exists as a result of the Anglo-Saxon race, according to Mencken?

4. What might Mencken say was Grover Cleveland's defining trait?

5. What criticism did Mencken have for a book filled with sayings and writings about death?

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Mencken feel were the true and most damaging consequences of the Civil War, according to "The Calamity of Appomattox"?

2. What aspect of death interested Mencken the most?

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

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

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

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

7. 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?

8. How did Mencken distinguish between plutocracy and aristocracy in "A Glance Ahead"?

9. According to "The Author at Work," why do writers write?

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

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

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 3

The nature of art, and especially of writing, is a subject that concerned Mencken.

A) What argument does Mencken make in "The Artist"? How is this argument related to Mencken's anti-war stance?

B) What argument does Mencken make in "The Author at Work"? How are we to reconcile his argument with the fact that, naturally, Mencken is himself a writer?

(see the answer keys)

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