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. Who, according to the narrator, is at the "head of the social system" in Puritan times?

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

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

4. Next to whom is Hester Prynne eventually buried?

5. What color is the letter A Pearl fashions for herself out of natural objects ?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. What, according to the narrator, enlivened the public holiday with "some diversity of hue?"

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One theme of this novel is the competition between science and medicine on the one hand and religion on the other, particularly in terms of someone's physical well-being. Write an essay that describes the theme of sickness, health, and wellness (in terms of both the physical as well as the emotional/mental) that takes into account Hawthorne's dramatizing of a competition between science and medicine.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

One major set of symbols in this work has to do with an interplay of the supernatural and the natural, both of which express various emotions or meanings at particular times in the book. Incorporating at least three examples from each category (three examples of the natural and three of the supernatural), define these concepts in terms of Hawthorne's novel, and interpret your examples in a comparative manner to show how they function in helping Hawthorne's narrator tell this story.

(see the answer keys)

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