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. What is Hester delivering to the governor's house when she goes there in Chapter 7?

3. One person suggest that Hester should have an iron brand burned where?

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

5. Whose widow is Mistress Hibbins?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Pearl react to other children?

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

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

6. What kind of skill does Hester use to support herself?

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

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

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. Why does Hawthorne say that it is ironic that Pearl is such a beautiful child, in Chapter 6?

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

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

Hypocrisy emerges as a major theme of this book. Pick a set of examples (such as one or two of the major characters, or specific chapters/settings/events) that demonstrate the forms of hypocrisy Hawthorne saw in Puritan life, and write an essay that explains them in terms of Hawthorne's criticism of such hypocrisy.

(see the answer keys)

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