Desolation Island Test | Mid-Book 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 does Maturin notice about the rats on board the ship?

2. What does Aubrey do Saturday evening?

3. Who is Aubrey supposed to reinstate?

4. As what does Maturin diagnose the prisoners' illness?

5. From whom does Maturin receive a summons?

Short Essay Questions

1. The chapter presents an interesting but routine narrative technique by introducing a letter home from Aubrey followed by a journal entry by Maturin. Both texts flow naturally and are presented in an appropriate voice; they both expose inner thoughts and deep feelings which would ordinarily not come out in common conversation. Explain why you think the author used this technique.

2. Why has Villiers left her home?

3. What does Maturin find out about Aubrey's next assignment on the sea?

4. What does Maturin decide he must do over the Villiers affair and what does he do?

5. What kind of storm does Aubrey hit when he first sails and what does he do about it?

6. Who is Louisa Wogan and what happened to her?

7. What does Pullings find after the storm?

8. What does Maturin receive from Herapath twice and what does he find out?

9. What happens when the epidemic hits and who does Herapath replace?

10. How does Maturin manipulate Herapath?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Though the author O'Brian may or may not have such personal views on women, the way women are characterized in his naval series is often less than complimentary. Discuss one of the following:

1. Present and analyze the treatment of women in Desolation Island.

2. O'Brian is trying to be historically accurate, so is his treatment of women in his book(s) justified?

3. Is there any way O'Brian could have presented women in a more positive light and still stayed historically accurate? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

Captain Jack Aubrey is in some ways a larger-than-life hero. Despite incredible odds, he usually comes out on top, in this book and in the others in the series. Discuss the following:

1. Does having a larger-than-life hero make that person less of a hero? In other words, which is more admirable--a hero who ultimately always "lands on his feet," or one who strives against impossible odds and doesn't succeed?

2. Does a character have to be successful in order to be a hero? Explain your answer.

3. Choose one other character besides Aubrey who you might call a hero/heroine and explain why you choose that person.

4. Does every work of fiction have to have a hero? Explain your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Along with superstitions, the ships crew seem to find mystical meanings in various symbols. Discuss the following:

1. What are six symbols in DESOLATION ISLAND and their meanings. Are the meanings logical or based upon superstitions?

2. Discuss three metaphors in the novel and their impact on the understanding of the plot.

3. Discuss O'Brian's narrative style as it applies to his descriptions. Is his style effective? Interesting? Lively?

(see the answer keys)

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