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. "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?

2. Who is mentioned in Chapter 13 as a "foundress of a religious sect?"

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

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

5. What does Hester fling next to the brook?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. In Chapter 15, when Pearl asks Hester what the letter stands for, what does Hester reply?

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

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

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

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

10. In Chapter 14, what does Hester ask of Chillingworth?

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

Community pressure to fit in and conform plays a major role in this narrative, particularly as compared to individual desires, either simply for individuality of expression or desires for things that are not sanctioned by the community. Write an essay that explains how Hawthorne dramatizes the tension between the pressure to conform on one hand and the risk of social stigma on the other. (You may want to pick a character that represents each, as a way to begin this analysis.)

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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