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 was NOT a name applied to William Jennings Bryan by Mencken?

2. Who did Mencken NOT count among the "crackpots" present in "The Wallace Paranoia"?

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

4. Where did the Scopes monkey trial take place?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What was the content of "Sententiae"?

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

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

6. How was FDR able to win the Democratic National Convention of 1932?

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

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

10. What opinions did Mencken render in "Masters of Tone"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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