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

2. Which character does Tolkien indicate has gained the most power by wearing the Ring?

3. What is the skill or ability of the Elves'?

4. What request is made of Tolkien after he finishes Farmer Giles of Ham?

5. As Tolkien explains in Letter #131, what motivates The Enemy in his stories?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the power of the pen and how does Tolkien explain it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien begins with Tolkien's early letters from 1914 while he was an undergraduate at Oxford University.

1) Describe the events that Tolkien includes in his letters about his relationship with Edith and why it is important to him.

2) Explain how Tolkien discusses his time at Oxford, his education, and his classes.

3) Analyze Tolkien's writing style in his earliest letters.

Essay Topic 2

Describe in detail the story that Tolkien tells Christopher about a train ride he has with two other men in a letter from April 3, 1944. Also, include the literary techniques used by Tolkien in the letter and why they display his skill as a writer.

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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