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. Who is with the governor when Hester visits his house to deliver something?

2. Who is NOT among the crowd shaming Hester?

3. What are the "delicate gems" referred to at the end of Chapter 1?

4. Against whom is Hawthorne alleged to harbor a "peculiar malevolence"?

5. Where is Hester when she and Pearl are examined by the doctor?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 13, Hawthorne says that some people would think that Hester's scarlet letter stands for "Able." Why?

2. What does Hawthorne find alongside the scarlet letter?

3. Why does Hester's heart sink when she sees Dimmesdale in the procession during the public holiday?

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

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

6. What, according to the narrator, enlivened the public holiday with "some diversity of hue?"

7. How does Hawthorne describe Dimmesdale, either physically or emotionally, at the beginning of Chapter 13?

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

9. Why does Chillingworth attempt to stop Hester and Pearl from joining Dimmesdale on the scaffold?

10. Describe the three suspected causes of the "A" carved into Dimmesdale's chest.

Essay 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

This novel relies on symbolism to tell its story of psychological torment. Pick several of the major symbols or symbolic systems at work in the novel, describe them in terms of Hawthorne's fictional technique and offer an interpretation of their symbolic meaning on multiple levels.

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)

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