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. How does Maturin feel about his manipulations of Wogan and Herapath?

2. What kind of storm does Aubrey run into at the start of his voyage?

3. How many sailors are allowed liberty at the next stop?

4. Who did the prisoners murder during the storm?

5. How is Sophie characterized?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Who visits Aubrey often and what does he find Aubrey involved in with his initial visit in this book?

4. A somewhat unique connection is forged between Aubrey and Herapath during the rescue-from-drowning scene. Why do you think this connection occurred?

5. Grant subtly but constantly criticizes Aubrey's handling of the ship--an irritating trait in any man but particularly when directed at such an obvious nautical genius as Aubrey. Why do you think Grant continues to criticize a captain who is obviously a superior seaman?

6. What does Maturin find at Villiers' apartments?

7. Who is Lieutenant Grant and what is Aubrey's problem with him?

8. What happens after the ship is put in order from the storm and what does Maturin discover?

9. What does Aubrey find when he inspects the prisoners' quarters and what happens when he sees Wogan?

10. With whom is Maturin enamored and how is that going for him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Thoroughly analyze how the setting informs the plot.

2. Trace and analyze one major theme of DESOLATION ISLAND.

3. Trace and analyze two secondary themes of DESOLATION ISLAND.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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