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 tone of this preface is best described as...

2. Whom do Dimmesdale and Chillingworth see out the window at the end of Chapter 10?

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

4. The title of Chapter 4, "The Interview," refers to the meeting between which two characters?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 2, why might it be Mistress Hibbins who would be in the jail?

2. What does Hawthorne find alongside the scarlet letter?

3. How does Pearl react to other children?

4. What has happened to the original spirit of the town of Salem, as in, to the legacy of the original founders?

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

6. What does Chillingworth implore Hester to do when they meet in the jail?

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

8. How does Hawthorne describe the inhabitants of Boston?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Pearl is enigmatic, first because she is an infant and then because of her other-worldliness, but she plays a key role in structuring the narrative of Hester Prynne. Consider Pearl's function in this narrative--as a symbol, as a plot device, as well as as a character in her own right--and write an analytical essay that interprets how Pearl is characterized and the primary fictional methods Hawthorne uses to paint a picture of her.

Essay Topic 2

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 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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