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. How does Hawthorne metaphorically refer to the United States government in "The Custom House"?

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

3. What are the spikes on the door to the jail made of?

4. Where does Chillingworth take up residence?

5. Chapter 6 is named after which character?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Hester calls for Pearl to come to her in Chapter 19, Pearl will not move from her spot in the woods. What prevents her from going to her mother?

2. Where does Dimmesdale go at the beginning of Chapter 12, and why?

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

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

5. Why does Dimmesdale not see through Chillingworth and understand his true (nefarious) agenda, according to the narrator in Chapter 10?

6. How does Hawthorne describe the inhabitants of Boston?

7. How does the narrator describe the public officials in Chapter 22, many of whom were real historical figures (figures such as Bradstreet, Endicott, etc.)?

8. What kinds of thoughts occur to Dimmesdale when he sees a deacon on the way home in Chapter 20 and why?

9. Describe the door to the jail.

10. Many people pass Dimmesdale by in this chapter; why are so many people up so late and walking about?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Hypocrisy emerges as a major theme of this book. Pick a set of examples (such as one or two of the major characters, or specific chapters/settings/events) that demonstrate the forms of hypocrisy Hawthorne saw in Puritan life, and write an essay that explains them in terms of Hawthorne's criticism of such hypocrisy.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Hawthorne plays with the notion of a happy ending near the end of the novel, teasing the reader with the notion that Dimmesdale and Hester might indeed live out a happily-ever-after ending. Consider the fates of the three major characters (Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth) and argue whether they experienced a happy ending or not. Be sure to use comparative analysis and textual examples.

(see the answer keys)

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