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. What is the title of Chapter 14?

2. What does Hester threaten to do at the end of Chapter 14?

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

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

5. Where does the minister go in the beginning of Chapter 12?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

7. 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?

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

9. Many people pass Dimmesdale by in this chapter; why are so many people up so late and walking about?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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