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 left out of the letters included in "To Unwin about The Hobbit"?

2. What words does Tolkien use to replace "Elves"?

3. Which of the following is the main thing that separates the Hobbits and the enemy?

4. How old is J.R.R. Tolkien in the first letter?

5. How does Tolkien originally respond to Unwin's request about the poem?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

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

5. 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?

6. What psychological dilemma does Tolkien discuss about the Elves in Letter #131?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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