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. What does Pearl do when Dimmesdale kisses her?

2. Whom does Hester decide to seek out for a meeting at the end of Chapter 13?

3. "Its ranks were filled with gentlemen, who felt the stirrings of martial impulse" describes which group of men in the procession referred to in the title of Chapter 22?

4. What had Dimmesdale been doing to himself?

5. What marks particular attendants of the holiday as members of their forest settlements?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 13, Hawthorne says that some people would think that Hester's scarlet letter stands for "Able." Why?

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

3. Why does Chillingworth attempt to stop Hester and Pearl from joining Dimmesdale on the scaffold?

4. Why does Hester say that Dimmesdale should travel somewhere, "whether in some remote village or in vast London, [...] in Germany, in France," etc?

5. How does Pearl decorate herself at the end of Chapter 18 differently from how she did in the woods when Hester met Chillingworth?

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

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

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

9. Why does Hester's heart sink when she sees Dimmesdale in the procession during the public holiday?

10. How does Hawthorne describe Dimmesdale, either physically or emotionally, at the beginning of Chapter 13?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One way that Hawthorne has structured this novel is symmetrical, with sets of mirror images radiating from a central chapter. Offering at least one example of this kind of symmetry, as well as examples of Hawthorne's reliance on "mirror images" or opposites for other purposes of this narrative, analyze the structure of this novel. You may want to concentrate on the very beginning of the narrative proper, the middle, and the very end to establish you clear vision of the "shape" or structure of the narrative.

Essay Topic 2

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.)

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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