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 symbol of the United States hands in front of the Custom-House?

2. What is the name of the grave-yard Hawthorne mentions in his discussion of his ancestors?

3. Which man in at the governor's argues that Hester should be allowed to keep Pearl?

4. Why does Hester stay in New England?

5. What quiets Pearl in this when she wants something from the governor's garden?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Pearl react to other children?

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

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

4. 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"?

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

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

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

8. What does Hawthorne say the purpose of the eagle is, which hangs in front of the building?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The final chapter offers three explanations for the bloody "A" etched on Dimmesdale's chest. Explain what each of the three possibilities are, according to the narrator, and answer the following questions: Why does Hawthorne chose to leave the reason ambiguous? What does this ambiguity offer to the reader or to the narrative? If you were Hawthorne, would you have made the same choice, and why? And finally, which of the three explanations do you mind most likely, and why? Be sure to answer in terms of this narrative.

Essay Topic 2

Community pressure to fit in and conform plays a major role in this narrative, particularly as compared to individual desires, either simply for individuality of expression or desires for things that are not sanctioned by the community. Write an essay that explains how Hawthorne dramatizes the tension between the pressure to conform on one hand and the risk of social stigma on the other. (You may want to pick a character that represents each, as a way to begin this analysis.)

Essay Topic 3

A source of psychological conflict in this novel is the relationship between Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. Using textual examples, write an descriptive analysis of how Hawthorne 1) establishes this relationship, and 2) uses the relationship to develop conflict and drive the engine of the plot. You should be sure to include examples that demonstrate how this relationship intensifies conflict at various spots in the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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