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. How do common folk read the Bible, according to Mencken in "Holy Writ"?

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

3. Who was FDR's chief opponent in the Democratic Convention of 1932?

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

5. What was the subject of "The Noble Experiment"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What was Mencken's opinion of chiropractic?

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

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

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

10. What was the content of "Sententiae"?

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's style and tone are widely celebrated. Using several examples from the text, discuss Mencken's approach to style and tone. How does Mencken present himself to the reader? Who does he posit as his reader? What rhetorical devices does he use to persuade the reader of his position?

(see the answer keys)

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