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. In what month does Tolkien write to Christopher about the writing process for The Hobbit?

2. During the time these letters are written, what term do the British typically use to label Americans?

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

4. What does Tolkien offer to the schoolboy in Letter #114?

5. How long is the summary that Tolkien's new publisher asks him to write at the end of "Publisher Drama"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. 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?

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

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

7. What happens between Tolkien and Edith leading up to their engagement?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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