The Scarlet Letter Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does Hawthorne metaphorically refer to the United States government in "The Custom House"?

2. Hawthorne surmises that if there were a Papist in the crowd, whom would Hester remind him of?

3. What are the spikes on the door to the jail made of?

4. Where does Chillingworth take up residence?

5. Chapter 6 is named after which character?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Hester calls for Pearl to come to her in Chapter 19, Pearl will not move from her spot in the woods. What prevents her from going to her mother?

2. Where does Dimmesdale go at the beginning of Chapter 12, and why?

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

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

5. Why does Dimmesdale not see through Chillingworth and understand his true (nefarious) agenda, according to the narrator in Chapter 10?

6. How does Hawthorne describe the inhabitants of Boston?

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

8. What kinds of thoughts occur to Dimmesdale when he sees a deacon on the way home in Chapter 20 and why?

9. Describe the door to the jail.

10. Many people pass Dimmesdale by in this chapter; why are so many people up so late and walking about?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Some critics might characterize parts of this work as feminist, particularly considering the role of Hester Prynne vis-a-vis her interactions with Governor Bellingham and the other public officials who want to take Pearl away from her. Argue this point in an analytical essay: does this particular sequence in the novel represent a feminist approach to custody? Decide whether you think so or not, and construct a well-reasoned argument that makes use of specific textual examples. (Note: there is no "right" answer: you can argue yes, no or maybe, as long as you construct a textual argument with specific and precise reasoning.)

(see the answer keys)

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