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. How many years have passed so far in this novel, in Chapter 13?

2. What group of people leads the procession referred to in the title of Chapter 22?

3. John Wilson is described as having what relationship to Dimmesdale?

4. What is the title of Chapter 14?

5. Who, in the procession, "exhibited such energy as was seen in the gait and air"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Hawthorne describe Dimmesdale, either physically or emotionally, at the beginning of Chapter 13?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

The final chapter offers three explanations for the bloody "A" etched on Dimmesdale's chest. Explain what each of the three possibilities are, according to the narrator, and answer the following questions: Why does Hawthorne chose to leave the reason ambiguous? What does this ambiguity offer to the reader or to the narrative? If you were Hawthorne, would you have made the same choice, and why? And finally, which of the three explanations do you mind most likely, and why? Be sure to answer in terms of this narrative.

(see the answer keys)

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