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 "public disapprobation" refers to...?

2. At the governor's house when the men are debating Hester's custody, what does one of them say Pearl should have been named?

3. Hester's work is seen everywhere with the exception of:

4. What is the title of Chapter 3?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Does Hawthorne, in the end, decide to change anything?

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

3. How does Dimmesdale respond to his growing guilt? How does he punish himself?

4. How does Pearl react to other children?

5. What does Hawthorne find alongside the scarlet letter?

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

7. What kind of plant stands outside the prison, offering a contrast in color and form? Describe what the narrator says about it.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

One major set of symbols in this work has to do with an interplay of the supernatural and the natural, both of which express various emotions or meanings at particular times in the book. Incorporating at least three examples from each category (three examples of the natural and three of the supernatural), define these concepts in terms of Hawthorne's novel, and interpret your examples in a comparative manner to show how they function in helping Hawthorne's narrator tell this story.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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