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 minister in the book has "a border of grizzled locks beneath his skull-cap" and gray eyes?

2. What is the title of the first chapter?

3. According to Hawthorne, the reaction could not have been more violent if...?

4. To whom does this description refer: "a seemingly careless arrangement of his heterogeneous garb"?

5. The title of Chapter 9 ("The Leech") refers to which character?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Hawthorne's emotional state in the preface?

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

3. Why does Hawthorne say that it is ironic that Pearl is such a beautiful child, in Chapter 6?

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

5. Does Hawthorne, in the end, decide to change anything?

6. How does Hawthorne describe the inhabitants of Boston?

7. Why does Hester stay in town after she is released from jail in Chapter 5?

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

9. What does Hawthorne promise to "alter or expunge"?

10. As the relationship between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale develops in Chapter 9, what do the townspeople begin to suspect about Dimmesdale and why?

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

One major set of symbols in this work has to do with an interplay of the supernatural and the natural, both of which express various emotions or meanings at particular times in the book. Incorporating at least three examples from each category (three examples of the natural and three of the supernatural), define these concepts in terms of Hawthorne's novel, and interpret your examples in a comparative manner to show how they function in helping Hawthorne's narrator tell this story.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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