The Scarlet Letter Test | Mid-Book 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. What is the title of Chapter 3?

2. Where are Dimmesdale's parents?

3. What kind of men are rare in the colony, according to the narrator?

4. What does Hawthorne find in a "mysterious package" in the Custom-House?

5. Where was Hester's "happy infancy and stainless maidenhood?"

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Chillingworth implore Hester to do when they meet in the jail?

2. What is Dimmesdale's argument for keeping Hester and Pearl together?

3. How is Chillingworth able to see what Dimmesdale is hiding on his body?

4. In Chapter 2, why might it be Mistress Hibbins who would be in the jail?

5. Why is "The Leech" an appropriate and significant name for this chapter?

6. Describe the setting Hawthorne describes of the busy wharf.

7. What does the governor think about Hester as a mother?

8. What does Hawthorne say the purpose of the eagle is, which hangs in front of the building?

9. What kind of skill does Hester use to support herself?

10. What are some examples of Chillingworth's growing power over Dimmesdale?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The mood and tone of this work is dark, which is largely achieved through its setting in Puritan New England. Discuss the various ways Hawthorne achieves the uncanny mood and tone in this novel, including but not limited to: his use of witchcraft and the supernatural, his use of light/dark imagery, his use of "Nature" and natural objects, etc.

Essay Topic 2

Hawthorne's preface to this novel claims that he has gotten himself in trouble for an unflattering portrait of the Customs Inspector, yet nonetheless, the novel features many real historical people anyway. Take up one of these real historical persons (for example, Governor Bellingham or Mistress Hibbins) and offer a descriptive analysis of their role in the narrative. How does Hawthorne characterize these real historical people? To what dramatic purposes or fictional ends does he put them alongside the invented characters? Be sure to consider the role these minor characters play in the historical setting of this novel.

Essay Topic 3

Despite the dark tone and dour mood of this novel, Hawthorne's narrative voice does offer some levity, irony and humor to lighten the mood at key points in this novel, including the irony in some of the chapter titles. Pick several examples of this irony, other forms of irony, archness/humor, and explain how these examples help lighten the mood.

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 870 words
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