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 many sailors are allowed liberty at the next stop?

2. What does Maturin say in his journal about Herapath?

3. How many people recover from the illness but are too weak to work?

4. How does Herapath feel when he gets to the top of the ropes?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. The rescue of Herapath begins the novel's restrained, intricate, and playful treatment of the sexually-charged atmosphere of a man-of-war with hundreds of men and three women--one of them obviously pregnant and all of them dangerous criminals. What do you think is meant by this statement?

4. How do the prisoners fare during the storm and what crimes do they commit?

5. What is Sophie doing about Aubrey's excesses?

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

7. How does Maturin manipulate Herapath?

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

9. What is Aubrey doing at the beginning of the novel?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Often in O'Brian's series involving Jack Aubrey, his ship and/or life is saved by extraordinary means. Discuss the following:

1. Identify and analyze a time in the book when O'Brian makes free use of the technique of narrative contrivance to save Aubrey and his ship.

2. Does the use of narrative contrivance diminish the impact of the plot? The believability of the storyline?

3. Is there any other way O'Brian could have a mixture of suspense and action while at the same time making certain the main characters are not killed?

Essay Topic 2

Maturin acts as a covert agent for the Crown and succeeds in planting false intelligence with the American spy, Mrs. Wogan:

1. What sort of covert operations does Maturin undertake? How similar do you think his covert operations are to that of an organization such as the CIA of today?

2. How is Maturin's role as a covert agent play a part in Mrs. Wogan's release?

3. Do you see any conflict of interests between being a doctor and also a covert operator? Why or why not.

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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