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. In his letter to D. Auden in "The Lord of the Rings Are Published," why does Tolkien think his work is published?

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

3. Which novel was being made into a paperback, prompting the debate over spelling in Letter #236?

4. When does Tolkien write to Unwin about C.S. Lewis in "Now the Books Themselves"?

5. In a letter to W.H. Auden, where does Tolkien reveal his work as a professor originates from?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What observation is made about Tolkien's work that prompts him to evaluate Frodo's heroic status?

4. Which literary device does Tolkien not appreciate and how does he view the intended audience of fairy tales?

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

6. What suspicions are confirmed by Tolkien about a woman's used book in 1965?

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

8. Which familiar people does Tolkien continue to write to in the "Later Years," and which recipients are new?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In Letter #246, Tolkien evaluates Frodo's heroic and moral qualities in The Lord of the Rings.

1) Describe Mrs. Eileen Elgar's observation of Frodo's actions and Tolkien's response to it.

2) Explain why Tolkien considers Frodo to be a non-hero, including the supporting logic he uses as well as your thoughts on his viewpoint.

3) Analyze Frodo's breakdown and the moral implications of it as well as the conclusions Tolkien makes from the event.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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