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. As explained in Letter #256, how long does Tolkien's current book take place after Mordor has collapsed?

2. Which versions of The Hobbit earn Tolkien an honorary doctorate, as mentioned in Letter #165?

3. How does Tolkien categorize the attempts made to change his spellings in Letter #236?

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

5. When is Letter #185 written to Christopher and Faith Tolkien?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Who does Tolkien thank in his letter to D. Auden on 1955?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tolkien offers to give away copies of his manuscripts on two occasions while giving the reader an inside look at his opinions of his own work.

1) Explain the reason why a schoolboy contacts Tolkien about The Hobbit and how Tolkien responds.

2) Describe the way Tolkien refers to his own work in Letter #155 and why he does not think it will be published.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Mortality and humanity are two themes that are present in Tolkien's novels.

1) Describe why Tolkien chooses to place humans in the background of his stories instead of featuring them as main characters.

2) Compare the psychological issues that Elves have in dealing with their immortality.

3) Analyze the parallels between the struggles that human beings have with their mortality and the problems the Elves face with their existence.

(see the answer keys)

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