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 happens to the wearer of the One Ring in Tolkien's story?

2. How does Tolkien consider the term "Elves"?

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

4. Which poem does Rayner Unwin initially write to Tolkien about?

5. In what year does Tolkien become disturbed by the length of time to publish The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Tolkien traveling with in the story he recounts for Christopher in a letter from April 3, 1944, and what is the point of the story?

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

3. What are the Stages of History that Tolkien describes in Letter #131?

4. 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?

5. How does Tolkien design Farmer Giles of Ham and what does he think about it being considered a children's story?

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

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

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

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

10. How are the letters for "To Unwin about The Hobbit" chosen and what information is left out of them?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mortality and humanity are two themes that are present in Tolkien's novels.

1) Describe why Tolkien chooses to place humans in the background of his stories instead of featuring them as main characters.

2) Compare the psychological issues that Elves have in dealing with their immortality.

3) Analyze the parallels between the struggles that human beings have with their mortality and the problems the Elves face with their existence.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the difficult situation that Tolkien encounters while having The Lord of the Rings published by Collins, and the events that lead him to work with Unwin & Allen on the trilogy. Also, provide an analysis of the poem, "Errantry," and its significance in the publishing of The Lord of the Rings.

Essay Topic 3

In Letter #246, Tolkien evaluates Frodo's heroic and moral qualities in The Lord of the Rings.

1) Describe Mrs. Eileen Elgar's observation of Frodo's actions and Tolkien's response to it.

2) Explain why Tolkien considers Frodo to be a non-hero, including the supporting logic he uses as well as your thoughts on his viewpoint.

3) Analyze Frodo's breakdown and the moral implications of it as well as the conclusions Tolkien makes from the event.

(see the answer keys)

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