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. This group in the procession referred to in the title of Chapter 22 was showing "a stamp of majesty that made the warrior's haughty stride look vulgar"?

2. Why do Hester and Dimmesdale chose the place they do to escape to?

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

4. Who is the "grim, ugly-eyed old man" who recognizes Pearl?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. 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?

6. Describe the three suspected causes of the "A" carved into Dimmesdale's chest.

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

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

9. How does the narrator describe the public officials in Chapter 22, many of whom were real historical figures (figures such as Bradstreet, Endicott, etc.)?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

This novel relies on symbolism to tell its story of psychological torment. Pick several of the major symbols or symbolic systems at work in the novel, describe them in terms of Hawthorne's fictional technique and offer an interpretation of their symbolic meaning on multiple levels.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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