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. Which of the following is NOT used by the narrator to describe Pearl in Chapter 21?

2. Why, according to Pearl, does sunshine "run away and hide itself" from Hester?

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

4. What does Hester mean when she says "Thou shalt not go alone" at the end of Chapter 17?

5. What does Hester fling next to the brook?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 16, Hester changes her story to Pearl about the significance of the scarlet letter. What does she say about the letter in Chapter 16?

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

3. Many people pass Dimmesdale by in this chapter; why are so many people up so late and walking about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawthorne plays with the notion of a happy ending near the end of the novel, teasing the reader with the notion that Dimmesdale and Hester might indeed live out a happily-ever-after ending. Consider the fates of the three major characters (Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth) and argue whether they experienced a happy ending or not. Be sure to use comparative analysis and textual examples.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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