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 only thing capable of destroying the Ring in Tolkien's story?

2. Under what conditions is Tolkien asked to chair an English department in "The Professor"?

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

4. As mentioned in Letter #69, which specific part of his manuscript does Tolkien plan on revising?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Tolkien design Farmer Giles of Ham and what does he think about it being considered a children's story?

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

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

4. How does Tolkien describe the development of his penchant for stories in Letter #130?

5. 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?

6. 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?

7. What is the One Ring of Power in Tolkien's stories?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Chronicle Tolkien's fascination with stories from his childhood to his career as an author. Include a description of how he used his skills and abilities to develop his appreciation of stories and languages.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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