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

3. In "The Hills of Zion," why did a woman warn against the reading of books?

4. What point did Mencken make when referring to the picture of a French soldier who was deformed with multiple amputations in war?

5. What would best describe Mencken's attitude toward Oliver Wendell Holmes?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What was Mencken's opinion of stage acting?

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

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

8. What was the content of "Sententiae"?

9. What was Mencken's opinion of chiropractic?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mencken mused about death in "Exeunt Omnes."

A) What was the aspect of death which interested Mencken the most?

B) How might "Exeunt Omnes" help us understand Mencken's anti-war stance? How does Mencken's attitude toward death relate to his anti-war stance?

C) Per Mencken's own apparent attitude, what might Mencken tell his readers is the best attitude to have toward death and mortality?

Essay Topic 2

Abraham Lincoln was the subject of a long essay. Discuss the logic and structure of Mencken's argument in regards to Abraham Lincoln. What premise does Mencken assume? What is his thesis? What evidence does he use to support his thesis, and what logic does he employ?

Essay Topic 3

Quackery was a favorite subject of Mencken's. What is quackery? Why does Mencken mock it? How does quackery relate to ignorance? In Mencken's view, do those who fall victim to quackery "deserve" their fate?

(see the answer keys)

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