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. When Hester exclaims "better he had died at once!," to whom is she referring in Chapter 14?

2. Who in the audience taunts Hester and Pearl at the appearance of Dimmesdale?

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

4. When Pearl will not cross the brook, what does Hester tell her she can leap like?

5. Hester is a self-ordained what?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Hester calls for Pearl to come to her in Chapter 19, Pearl will not move from her spot in the woods. What prevents her from going to her mother?

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

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

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

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

6. Why does Hester go to meet Dimmesdale in the woods?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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