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 many improvements does Tolkien indicate he has made to the manuscript for Farmer Giles of Ham?

2. What is left out of the letters included in "To Unwin about The Hobbit"?

3. Under what conditions is Tolkien asked to chair an English department in "The Professor"?

4. How does Tolkien describe the domestic problems he is having in a letter before he moves to a small house?

5. How does Tolkien describe the writing of The Hobbit to Christopher?

Short Essay Questions

1. What psychological dilemma does Tolkien discuss about the Elves in Letter #131?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Tolkien's creative writing process using the information he provides in his letters throughout the book. Be sure to include his explanation of the power of the pen as well as an analysis of the role of improvisation in fiction.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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