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 the skill or ability of the Elves'?

2. Which of the following is the main focal point of The Silmarillion?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. What is unique about Tolkien's poem, "Errantry"?

10. How does Tolkien write about being given the position of chairing the English department at the university?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe in detail the Stages of History according to Tolkien's explanation of them in his letters. Include the order of his fictional species, the major differences between them, how mankind fits into the development of his world, and Tolkien's reasons for creating each stage a particular way.

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

Compare and contrast Tolkien's career as a professor and his career as an author while he is waiting for The Lord of the Rings to be published. Include several examples of his descriptions of his teaching responsibilities, how he approached them during this time, and the reminder he used when he became concerned with the publishing of his work. Then, analyze the way Tolkien writes about his teaching career after his books have become successful and he has been promoted to Senior Professor.

(see the answer keys)

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