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Amit Sulakhe Ashley Ahn John Kim. About H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) Born and raised in Baltimore Newspaper writer Worked most of his life for the Baltimore.

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Presentation on theme: "Amit Sulakhe Ashley Ahn John Kim. About H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) Born and raised in Baltimore Newspaper writer Worked most of his life for the Baltimore."— Presentation transcript:

1 Amit Sulakhe Ashley Ahn John Kim

2 About H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) Born and raised in Baltimore Newspaper writer Worked most of his life for the Baltimore Sun, where many of his essays originated Famous for covering the Scopes “monkey” trial Made sure that he enjoyed life (very social) His sentences are very blunt and hard-hitting All his work was very personal

3 What is this text about? Mencken describes how he feels about America and what it is to be an American 5 Sections 1 st Section: America as a country, and the people that make up the country 2 nd Section: Politics, and how America’s democracy is “perfect” (very sarcastic) 3 rd Section: Happiness, and how different people find different forms of joy in America 4 th Section: You can find anything you are looking for in America 5 th Section: If you can not find what you are looking for, you must be crazy

4 Language of Text Rhetorical Questions “Would it be possible to imagine anything more stupendously grotesque – a deafening, nerve-wracking battle to the death between Tweedledum and Tweedledee – the impossible, with fearful snorts, gradually swallowing the inconceivable?” Diction “…disarming ignorance.” Tone “One man likes the republic because it pays better wages than Bulgaria. Another because it has laws to keep him sober, pious and faithful to his wife.”

5 To whom is text addressed? Mencken was complex, contradictory, freethinker To those who view America as the best place to be “Here, in brief, is the history of the United States... I maintain to the last that it is diverting—that it afford stimulating entertainment to a civilized man.” (507) Sarcastic, indifferent

6 What effect does text have? Mencken mocks American society Politics Government people “Here is it purged of all menace, all sinister quality... Stuffed with such gorgeous humors, such extravagant imbecilities...” (508) “In other lands, at worst, there are at least issues, ideas, personalities.” (507) Lack of seriousness and ignorance of important ideas; Mencken sees America as comical

7 What is the text arguing? The American System is flawed… “But here, having perfected democracy, we lift the whole combat to a gaudy symbolism, to a disembodied transcendentalism, to metaphysics, that sweet nirvana.” (507) Sarcastic tone, politics are too extravagant “Another because there is a warrant out for him somewhere else.” (508) America allows for criminals to live here

8 …but Mencken would rather not live anywhere else. “I like it because it amuses me. I never get tired of the show. It is worth every cent it costs.” (508) “Here one always gets plenty to eat, even in the midst of war, and, despite Prohibition, quite enough to drink.” (509) Divides his arguments into sections, and asks many rhetorical questions

9 Is the text effective? No, Mencken is just on a continuous rant. Does not provide solid facts to back up his views. Pathos Appeals to readers by expressing his opinions about America


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