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 Letter #227, how does Tolkien explain the name, Numenor?

2. How long is Tolkien's Letter #256 to Colin Bailey?

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

4. What is the main subject of Letters #146, 147, and 148?

5. How do the Belgians describe Tolkien in Letter #165?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe in detail the Stages of History according to Tolkien's explanation of them in his letters. Include the order of his fictional species, the major differences between them, how mankind fits into the development of his world, and Tolkien's reasons for creating each stage a particular way.

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

Discuss Tolkien's creative writing process using the information he provides in his letters throughout the book. Be sure to include his explanation of the power of the pen as well as an analysis of the role of improvisation in fiction.

(see the answer keys)

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