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. As mentioned by Tolkien in Letter #131, when do the Hobbits first come into being?

2. Who leads The Enemy in Tolkien's stories?

3. How many other men are traveling with Tolkien during his conversation about accents?

4. What does Tolkien suggest is the greatest resource for the information the schoolboy is seeking in Letter #114?

5. What is the only thing capable of destroying the Ring in Tolkien's story?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What request does Allen & Unwin have about Farmer Giles of Ham and how does Tolkien respond?

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

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

7. How does Tolkien write about being given the position of chairing the English department at the university?

8. How does Tolkien explain the role of humans and mankind in his stories in Letter #131?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The One Ring of Power is a significant element in The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's letters.

1) Describe the One Ring, its features, and the effect it has on whoever wears it.

2) Explain the only known way to destroy the Ring.

3) Analyze Tolkien's hypothetical assessment of why Gandalf would be worse while wearing the Ring than Sauron and whether you agree with him.

Essay Topic 2

Describe in detail the Stages of History according to Tolkien's explanation of them in his letters. Include the order of his fictional species, the major differences between them, how mankind fits into the development of his world, and Tolkien's reasons for creating each stage a particular way.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the differences between literature that is designed to be read out loud and stories that are written to be read silently. Use Tolkien's work as a reference, including his intent with Farmer Giles of Ham and a look at the role of writing that is intended to be presented verbally in contemporary literature.

(see the answer keys)

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