Desolation Island 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 type of surprise attack does the Dutch captain set up one night?

2. What is sighted on the sea in Chapter 6?

3. What does Aubrey notice about the Dutch captain when the ship closes in?

4. What does Maturin tell Putnam when he works on him?

5. Why can't Aubrey ask to use the forge from the ship that showed up?

Short Essay Questions

1. Of particular interest is the technical discussion concerning scurvy and Maturin's rather ridiculous speech regarding the desirability of flatulence. Indeed, the medical practices of the time are compelling and, one leaves one wondering about their efficacy. What do you think the mortality rate for medical treatment in those times might be? Explain your answer.

2. How does Aubrey win the battle with the Dutch ship?

3. What does Herapath's relating his experience with opium cause Maturin to do and why?

4. What does Aubrey decide to do after missing an island on which to land and who does he bring up as a possible reason for pessimism?

5. Why does Aubrey decide Cape Town is not a good destination?

6. Why does Aubrey allow Grant and others to leave the ship?

7. The novel thus ends with Leopard ready to sail and Maturin finally freed of his weighty intelligence responsibilities. Do you think this ending was complete?

8. Meanwhile, Maturin has subtly informed Herapath--an American, it will be remembered--that should he gain the deck of La Fayette he would be free to leave with her; Aubrey would not risk an incident by boarding the American whaler. Do you think Maturin letting Herapath and Wogan escape was an act of treason?

9. How does the author attempt to make Aubrey appear?

10. How does Aubrey feel when the Dutch ship sinks?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The British Navy in this era is very flexible in letting their Captains and other officers use their own style of command. Discuss the following:

1. Whose command style seems most effective? Why? Give examples.

2. Whose command style seems least effective? Why? Give examples.

3. Sometimes the crew will mutineer against a tyrannical Captain: Is mutiny ever justifiable? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Patrick O'Brian tries as much as possible to use historical events and facts around which to weave his work of fiction. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think this book qualifies as an historical fiction? Why or why not?

2. If much of the events in the book are historical, what surprises you about the way the events play out?

3. Do you think the culture of that era is more or less advanced than you imagined? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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