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 does Tolkien respond to the idea of chairing the English department?

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

3. What is the result of a friendship between the Elves and the Dwarves, as Tolkien explains in Letter #131?

4. Who is the initial publisher for Tolkien's books when "Publisher Drama" begins?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens between Collins and Tolkien during the publishing of The Lord of the Rings?

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

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

4. What message does Tolkien hear when he is becoming impatient about the publishing of The Lord of the Rings?

5. What are galleys in literature and how does Tolkien respond to the editing process of The Lord of the Rings?

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

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

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyze Tolkien's relationship with his son, Christopher, based on his letters. Provide at least three separate examples of how he communicated with his son and the effect it had on his writing.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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