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 Letter, #6, to what college subject does Tolkien refer?

2. In Letter #131, what reason does Tolkien reveal for creating his alternate world of fiction?

3. Who leads The Enemy in Tolkien's stories?

4. What point does Tolkien make about his book, The Silmarillion, in Letter #131?

5. What assertion does Tolkien make about Farmer Giles of Ham?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Tolkien characterize Sauron in Letter #131?

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

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

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

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

7. How does Tolkien refer to The Hobbit in his early letters to Christopher?

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

9. 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?

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

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

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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