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 is Allen & Unwin?

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

3. As mentioned in Letter #66, why does Tolkien think that he will have to move some of the sections of his book?

4. What does Tolkien explain he uses in developing his fascination with imaginary worlds?

5. What happens when Tolkien first decides to approach the publishers about the delay of the books?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What stipulation does Tolkien have in working with Allen & Unwin on publishing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and what request do they have for him?

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

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

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

7. How can the One Ring of Power be destroyed?

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

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

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

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

Tolkien's writing style is a combination of different techniques that is very effective in delivering exciting fiction that can be enjoyed on many levels.

1) Explain the use of vivid descriptions in both Tolkien's letters and his fictional works.

2) Describe Tolkien's advice for writing fiction in a way that maintains the reader's attention throughout the work and analyze how this can be applied to contemporary creative writing.

3) Explain Tolkien's opinions about allegory and its use in writing fiction, as well as your own view about the literary device and its uses.

3) Analyze Tolkien's thoughts about fairy tales and the importance of their place in literature.

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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