The Scarlet Letter Test | Final 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. Why is Dimmesdale at the town center Chapter 12?

2. What does Chillingworth say in Chapter 14 the town council has been debating?

3. According to the narrator, which of the following has NOT been one of Hester's "teachers"?

4. What group of people leads the procession referred to in the title of Chapter 22?

5. Hester says that Pearl is "strange" and what at first?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do Hester and Pearl gather with other townspeople at the beginning of Chapter 21?

2. Why does Hester go to meet Dimmesdale in the woods?

3. Why will Hester and Dimmesdale have to head back to Europe, instead of moving somewhere more rural or remote?

4. 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?

5. When Dimmesdale refuses to travel and quit his post as minister, how does Hester change his mind?

6. Why does Hawthorne describe Pearl, in Chapter 19, as a "living hieroglyphic."

7. What does Pearl do with the seaweed she finds, and what does it show about her as a character?

8. According to the narrator, what appeared to be Dimmesdale's subject, in his sermon in Chapter 23?

9. In Chapter 14, why is Chillingworth in the woods?

10. Why, at the end of the book, is Hester making a baby garment?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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 3

Specific colors play a role in telling the story, especially the colors red and black. While "red" is manifested in the scarlet letter (and other symbolic objects), "black" often remains a metaphorical color in this novel. Write an analytical essay that examines Hawthorne's use of these colors, in terms of metaphor as well as literal meaning in the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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