The Scarlet Letter Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Where does Dimmesdale imagine a "scarlet token?"

2. Whom does Dimmesdale call up to join him in front of everyone?

3. Which of the following is NOT an explanation for Dimmesdale's "red stigma"?

4. Where is Hester when Chillingworth leaves, "his gray beard almost" touching the ground?

5. What does Hester tell Dimmesdale about Chillingworth in Chapter 17?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The story starts with a mystery - the scrap of scarlet cloth Hawthorne finds in the Custom House - and builds narrative tension around an even greater mystery having to do with Pearl's parentage and Chillingworth's discovery. Describe the way "mystery" works in this novel: how and why does Hawthorne reveal or withhold key information from the reader?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Hawthorne's preface to this novel claims that he has gotten himself in trouble for an unflattering portrait of the Customs Inspector, yet nonetheless, the novel features many real historical people anyway. Take up one of these real historical persons (for example, Governor Bellingham or Mistress Hibbins) and offer a descriptive analysis of their role in the narrative. How does Hawthorne characterize these real historical people? To what dramatic purposes or fictional ends does he put them alongside the invented characters? Be sure to consider the role these minor characters play in the historical setting of this novel.

(see the answer keys)

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