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 Hester delivering to the governor's house when she goes there in Chapter 7?

2. At the governor's house when the men are debating Hester's custody, what does one of them say Pearl should have been named?

3. Hawthorne writes of his surprise and what in the first lines of the preface?

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

5. Who is named as Hester's pastor in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. When Hester delivers gloves to the governor, what is the other reason for her going there?

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

10. How does Pearl react to other children?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

One theme of this novel is the competition between science and medicine on the one hand and religion on the other, particularly in terms of someone's physical well-being. Write an essay that describes the theme of sickness, health, and wellness (in terms of both the physical as well as the emotional/mental) that takes into account Hawthorne's dramatizing of a competition between science and medicine.

Essay Topic 3

One way that Hawthorne has structured this novel is symmetrical, with sets of mirror images radiating from a central chapter. Offering at least one example of this kind of symmetry, as well as examples of Hawthorne's reliance on "mirror images" or opposites for other purposes of this narrative, analyze the structure of this novel. You may want to concentrate on the very beginning of the narrative proper, the middle, and the very end to establish you clear vision of the "shape" or structure of the narrative.

(see the answer keys)

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