The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. In describing the power of the pen, what aspect of fiction writing does Tolkien refer to when explaining his own writing process and the way he invents characters?
(a) The predictability of it.
(b) The extensive reading of other fiction done before writing.
(c) The extensive research done before writing.
(d) The unpredictability of it.

2. Who does Tolkien express gratitude to in Letter #6?
(a) Mrs. E.M. White.
(b) Mrs. C.S. White.
(c) Mrs. C.S. Wright.
(d) Mrs. E.M. Wright.

3. What happens when Tolkien first decides to approach the publishers about the delay of the books?
(a) The publishers provide a list of excuses.
(b) The publishers decline to publish them.
(c) The publishers take even more time.
(d) The publishers do not respond.

4. What is Allen & Unwin?
(a) A law firm.
(b) A printing service.
(c) A bank.
(d) A publishing house.

5. How does Tolkien describe the writing of The Hobbit to Christopher?
(a) Both easy and difficult.
(b) Easy.
(c) Neither easy nor difficult.
(d) Difficult.

Short Answer Questions

1. What invention does Tolkien make when writing the poem being discussed with Unwin?

2. In general, why do Tolkien and C.S. Lewis meet several times?

3. With whom does Tolkien work in order to avoid the responsibilities of chairing the English department?

4. Which one of the following best describes Tolkien's recount of the history surrounding his poem in "Publisher Drama"?

5. Which poem does Rayner Unwin initially write to Tolkien about?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens between Tolkien and Edith leading up to their engagement?

2. What message does Tolkien hear when he is becoming impatient about the publishing of The Lord of the Rings?

3. What is the One Ring of Power in Tolkien's stories?

4. What stipulation does Tolkien have in working with Allen & Unwin on publishing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and what request do they have for him?

5. How is Tolkien's proficiency in writing displayed in the story he tells to Christopher in his April 3, 1944, letter?

6. What inspires a schoolboy to write to Tolkien about The Hobbit in Letter #114 and what advice does Tolkien give in return?

7. What is the similarity between the Elves and the Machine, and what is the main difference between both sides, according to Tolkien in Letter #131?

8. How old is Tolkien when the earliest letters begin and what is his situation?

9. How does Tolkien refer to The Hobbit in his early letters to Christopher?

10. In what way does Tolkien realistically depict his job as a professor in 1952?

(see the answer keys)

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