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. Which part of The Scarlet Letter does this preface specifically refer to?

2. What distinguishes the men in the "throng" at the beginning of thChapter 1?

3. What is the title of Chapter 3?

4. Which one of the following descriptions does not apply to Pearl?

5. Hawthorne surmises that if there were a Papist in the crowd, whom would Hester remind him of?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Hawthorne find alongside the scarlet letter?

2. Describe what Hawthorne's narrator thinks of Reverend Dimmesdale's voice.

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

4. Describe the clothing worn by the "throng of bearded men" at the beginning of Chapter 1.

5. What does Hester refuse to do during this chapter 3, despite pressure from her neighbors?

6. Why is Hester standing before the townsfolk in the beginning of the novel?

7. What happens to Hester when the jailer introduces Chillingworth?

8. Name one of the two reasons Hawthorne suspects that the plant standing outside the prison survived.

9. What kind of plant stands outside the prison, offering a contrast in color and form? Describe what the narrator says about it.

10. How does Dimmesdale respond to his growing guilt? How does he punish himself?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Offer a compare and contrast essay about the two major male characters in this book, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. Be sure to include analytical description of their looks and physical aspects, their emotional states, their motivations, and their conduct.

Essay Topic 2

Pearl is enigmatic, first because she is an infant and then because of her other-worldliness, but she plays a key role in structuring the narrative of Hester Prynne. Consider Pearl's function in this narrative--as a symbol, as a plot device, as well as as a character in her own right--and write an analytical essay that interprets how Pearl is characterized and the primary fictional methods Hawthorne uses to paint a picture of her.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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