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. Besides his complaint in "Later Years", how many other times in the book so far has Tolkien complained about the spelling changes made by the editorial staff of a publishing company?

2. What does Tolkien think drives humans towards certain behaviors?

3. According to his letters, how does Tolkien consider his experience with the publisher about the cover designs?

4. How does Tolkien describe Gandalf in Letter #246?

5. As mentioned in Letter #246, where is Frodo unable to give up the Ring?

Short Essay Questions

1. What wish does Tolkien have for "well-meaning" editors in Letter #236?

2. What is the mystery of creative writing that Tolkien reveals in Letter #199 to Christopher?

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

4. Why is Tolkien honored with a degree from the Belgians and how do they refer to him?

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

6. In what way does Tolkien think that his story will help both existing parents and future parents?

7. What problem of Sauron does Tolkien describe in his letter to Auden as an example of human behavior?

8. What does Tolkien think about Frodo's breakdown at the Cracks of Doom being considered a moral failure?

9. Why, when, and how does Tolkien switch from writing with a pen and paper to using a typewriter?

10. What important announcement does Tolkien make to Christopher Bretherton in Letter #253 about his connection to childhood?

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

Describe in detail the story that Tolkien tells Christopher about a train ride he has with two other men in a letter from April 3, 1944. Also, include the literary techniques used by Tolkien in the letter and why they display his skill as a writer.

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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