The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien Test | Mid-Book 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. Where does the conversation about accents take place that Tolkien discusses in his letter to Christopher?

2. In Letter #130, what distinction does Tolkien make about the artificial languages he creates for his books?

3. What German word meaning "essential" does Tolkien refer to in Letter #6, stating that it is actually viewed as an English word?

4. How long is the summary that Tolkien's new publisher asks him to write at the end of "Publisher Drama"?

5. During the time these letters are written, what term do the British typically use to label Americans?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Tolkien describe the development of his penchant for stories in Letter #130?

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

3. How can the One Ring of Power be destroyed?

4. What clarification does Tolkien make about the word, "Elves"?

5. How does Tolkien characterize Sauron in Letter #131?

6. How does Rayner Unwin first contact Tolkien, leading to his involvement with publishing The Lord of the Rings?

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

8. What observation does Tolkien make about his Middle English class to Mrs. E.M. Wright in Letter #6?

9. What is unique about Tolkien's poem, "Errantry"?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Tolkien expresses his discontent with changes made to his work by editors in various letters.

1) Describe two examples of Tolkien's disagreement with proposed changes in spelling or use of words for his stories.

2) Analyze how Tolkien invented the different languages for his fictional realm and why his educational background was significant.

Essay Topic 2

Examine Tolkien's theory about human behavior and the effects of circumstances, free will, and character in making decisions. Be sure to provide examples from Tolkien's letters explaining why certain characters he has invented act the way that they do and make the choices they make.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast Tolkien's career as a professor and his career as an author while he is waiting for The Lord of the Rings to be published. Include several examples of his descriptions of his teaching responsibilities, how he approached them during this time, and the reminder he used when he became concerned with the publishing of his work. Then, analyze the way Tolkien writes about his teaching career after his books have become successful and he has been promoted to Senior Professor.

(see the answer keys)

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