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 "Travail," how did the boys going to school in the morning seem to Mencken?

2. How did Mencken describe the music of Chopin?

3. How was plutocracy created, according to Mencken?

4. Who was Mencken with at a Bach concert in Pennsylvania when he decided to get some liquor?

5. Which is the best style of architecture, according to Mencken?

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 content of "Sententiae"?

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

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

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

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

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In articles like "The Baltimore of the Eighties," Mencken looks back on his childhood. What attitude does Mencken have toward childhood? How did his childhood impact the man he became? Why is it valuable to take this look back?

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

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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