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. How often does Tolkien write to Edith during the time they are separated?

2. What will the alteration mean for the book Tolkien is writing in Letter #128?

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 does Tolkien feel when he looks at his work in the revision stages?

5. How many Rings of Power does the One Ring control?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did being a father help Tolkien in writing one of his most well known stories, <i>The Hobbit<i>?

4. What happened when the Elves and the Dwarves became friends in the past of Tolkien's fictional realm?

5. Which literary device does Tolkien not appreciate and how does he view the intended audience of fairy tales?

6. How was the collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's letters compiled and who helped with the process?

7. What change does Tolkien consider and eventually make to <i>The Hobbit<i> in Letters #128 and #129, and why is it significant?

8. Why, when, and how does Tolkien switch from writing with a pen and paper to using a typewriter?

9. In Letters #66 and #69, how is Tolkien's relationship with Christopher defined?

10. What is the mystery of creative writing that Tolkien reveals in Letter #199 to Christopher?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the stages of publishing for The Lord of the Rings, including the following:

1) The initial cover images, Tolkien's reaction to them, and how the publishers respond to him.

2) The galleys and what Tolkien realizes while revising his books.

3) The idea of including maps for Tolkien's imaginary world and how he involves Christopher in the process.

4) The varying tones that Tolkien uses in his letters while describing the events that are leading up to the release of his work.

(see the answer keys)

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