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. Dimmesdale learns that he is preach what important sermon?

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

3. What marks particular attendants of the holiday as members of their forest settlements?

4. Who are the "rough-looking desperadoes, with sun-blackened faces" at the holiday in Chapter 21?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

4. How does Pearl decorate herself at the end of Chapter 18 differently from how she did in the woods when Hester met Chillingworth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Some critics might characterize parts of this work as feminist, particularly considering the role of Hester Prynne vis-a-vis her interactions with Governor Bellingham and the other public officials who want to take Pearl away from her. Argue this point in an analytical essay: does this particular sequence in the novel represent a feminist approach to custody? Decide whether you think so or not, and construct a well-reasoned argument that makes use of specific textual examples. (Note: there is no "right" answer: you can argue yes, no or maybe, as long as you construct a textual argument with specific and precise reasoning.)

Essay Topic 3

Despite the dark tone and dour mood of this novel, Hawthorne's narrative voice does offer some levity, irony and humor to lighten the mood at key points in this novel, including the irony in some of the chapter titles. Pick several examples of this irony, other forms of irony, archness/humor, and explain how these examples help lighten the mood.

(see the answer keys)

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