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 will Pearl not come to Hester in Chapter 19?

2. With what kind of natural objects has Pearl decorated herself in Chapter 18?

3. What suggests that Pearl will have a child of her own at the end of the novel?

4. Who is said to haunt the forest outside town, carrying a big, heavy book with him?

5. What does Hester fling next to the brook?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why, in Chapter 18, does Hester remove the scarlet letter and fling it into a brook?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

On your first read, "The Custom House" seems to have little or nothing to do with the "real" narrative of The Scarlet Letter, the story of Hester Prynne, yet Hawthorne's introductory essay establishes his narrative voice and justifies the origins of Hester's story. Write an analytical essay that argues the importance of this introduction to the narrative structure of the book. Key terms to consider are: frame narrative, narrative voice/point-of-view, symbolism, public/private life, etc.

Essay Topic 2

Hester Prynne is a single mother in Puritan New England. Explain and analyze the way Hawthorne characterizes her, using specific examples of his technique, as well as the way he dramatizes her psychology. Be sure to consider the choices Hester makes/is forced to make throughout the novel. Is Hester a strong character or a weak one? What do you think of the way she has conducted herself? Back up your arguments with specific textual examples.

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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