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. The title of Chapter 5 refers to what?

2. How does Hawthorne describe the historic Salem of years ago?

3. When Wilson asks Pearl who made her, what does she answer?

4. Why does Hawthorne refuse to change what he has written?

5. Whose name does the doctor want Hester to reveal?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Hawthorne find alongside the scarlet letter?

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

3. Of all the finery in the governor's mansion, what does Pearl cry for most of all?

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

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

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

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

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

9. Describe the people referred to as the five in the following quotation: "If the hussy stood for judgment before us five, that are now here in a knot together"?

10. How does Pearl react to other children?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the emotional struggle in this novel comes from a tension between public shame and private guilt. In an analytical essay, explain what each of these terms means in the scope of this novel, and how Hawthorne dramatizes each idea. Be sure to interpret them in terms of the fictional elements (characterization, setting, plot action, mood, etc.) Hawthorne uses to demonstrate them.

Essay Topic 2

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.

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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