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. Despite his triumph in delivering the sermon in Chapter 23, how does Dimmesdale appear?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. When Dimmesdale refuses to travel and quit his post as minister, how does Hester change his mind?

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

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

5. 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?

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

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

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

9. What kinds of thoughts occur to Dimmesdale when he sees a deacon on the way home in Chapter 20 and why?

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

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 2

The mood and tone of this work is dark, which is largely achieved through its setting in Puritan New England. Discuss the various ways Hawthorne achieves the uncanny mood and tone in this novel, including but not limited to: his use of witchcraft and the supernatural, his use of light/dark imagery, his use of "Nature" and natural objects, etc.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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