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. How does Tolkien sign Letter #165?

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

3. What year does Tolkien write a long letter to Jane Neave that is included in "Later Years"?

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

5. What feeling does Tolkien have about knowing the entire story of The Lord of the Rings?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. How does Allen & Unwin respond to Tolkien's opinion of the cover images?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Compare and contrast the differences between literature that is designed to be read out loud and stories that are written to be read silently. Use Tolkien's work as a reference, including his intent with Farmer Giles of Ham and a look at the role of writing that is intended to be presented verbally in contemporary literature.

(see the answer keys)

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