The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien Test | Final 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 causes Frodo to have a breakdown in The Lord of the Rings?

2. When is Letter #159 dated?

3. How does Tolkien think his writing about the joys of fatherhood will be interpreted by people who are not yet parents?

4. Based on Tolkien's assessment in Letter #246, what drives Frodo to embark on the incredible journey?

5. When does Tolkien begin using a typewriter for his letters?

Short Essay Questions

1. What changes have occurred in Tolkien's career as a professor by Letter #182 in 1956?

2. How does Tolkien disprove the misconception that his success was made overnight in Letter #159?

3. What previously unmentioned career achievement does Tolkien reveal to Christopher Bretherton in Letter #253?

4. As Tolkien explains in his letter to Unwin, why is the work of C.S. Lewis opposed by some?

5. How did being a father help Tolkien in writing one of his most well known stories, The Hobbit?

6. What issues is Tolkien having with the cover images for The Lord of the Rings books and how does he handle the situation?

7. What information does Tolkien provide in his remembrance of C.S. Lewis in Letters #257 and #261?

8. How does Tolkien support his assessment of Gandalf's Ring-wearing in Letter #246?

9. Who is Tolkien writing to when he predicts what would happen if Gandalf had worn the Ring, and what is his prediction?

10. How does Tolkien address the name Numenor in Letter #227?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine Tolkien's theory about human behavior and the effects of circumstances, free will, and character in making decisions. Be sure to provide examples from Tolkien's letters explaining why certain characters he has invented act the way that they do and make the choices they make.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the reasons that Tolkien had for writing The Hobbit, The Lords of the Ring, and The Silmarillion. Also, provide an analysis of how his dislike for industrialization factored into his work, the way he used specific characters to represent both sides, and why he thought it was necessary to write fairy tales.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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