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 issue does a woman's presence raise for Tolkien in "Publisher Drama"?

2. What is Allen & Unwin?

3. How many improvements does Tolkien indicate he has made to the manuscript for <i>Farmer Giles of Ham</i>?

4. How does Tolkien describe the writing of <i>The Hobbit</i> to Christopher?

5. What point does Tolkien make about his book, <i>The Silmarillion</i>, in Letter #131?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Tolkien address the name Numenor in Letter #227?

3. According to Tolkien's letter to W.H. Auden, what drives humans towards certain behaviors?

4. How is Tolkien's proficiency in writing displayed in the story he tells to Christopher in his April 3, 1944, letter?

5. What message does Tolkien hear when he is becoming impatient about the publishing of <i>The Lord of the Rings</i>?

6. Why is Tolkien honored with a degree from the Belgians and how do they refer to him?

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

8. What important announcement does Tolkien make to Christopher Bretherton in Letter #253 about his connection to childhood?

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

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

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the stages of publishing for The Lord of the Rings, including the following:

1) The initial cover images, Tolkien's reaction to them, and how the publishers respond to him.

2) The galleys and what Tolkien realizes while revising his books.

3) The idea of including maps for Tolkien's imaginary world and how he involves Christopher in the process.

4) The varying tones that Tolkien uses in his letters while describing the events that are leading up to the release of his work.

Essay Topic 2

Tolkien expresses his discontent with changes made to his work by editors in various letters.

1) Describe two examples of Tolkien's disagreement with proposed changes in spelling or use of words for his stories.

2) Analyze how Tolkien invented the different languages for his fictional realm and why his educational background was significant.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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