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. How well did Grant perform in combat?

2. What does Aubrey decide to use as stern chasers?

3. What type of surprise attack does the Dutch captain set up one night?

4. What does Maturin think about Aubrey's wounds?

5. What does the part of the crew that takes the boats and leave the ship take with them?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is the Leopard outclassed by the Waakzaamheid?

2. Why is Leopard in danger in Chapter 8 and how much danger is there?

3. 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.

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

5. What does the fact that the Waakzaamheid has found the Leopard mean as far as the Dutch captain goes?

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

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

8. While the crew works, Maturin visits a small island in the bay--it is so encumbered of strange life that Maturin christens it Paradise. Why do you think Maturin named the island Paradise considering it is near Antarctica and is probably pretty cold?

9. Describe Grant's capabilities during combat and during regular ship operations.

10. Discuss a few of the nautical technical information given in this chapter.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Grant takes over for Aubrey and though he is competent, he is unwilling to take advice which results in the Leopard being seriously disabled. Grant and some other officers and seaman take to the lifeboats. Though Aubrey thinks it is not necessary to abandon ship, he allows the men to leave. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think it is wise on the part of Aubrey to allow Grant to captain the ship even though Grant was most senior next to Aubrey? Did Aubrey have a choice?

2. Do you think it is wise of Aubrey to let the men go with the boats and provisions without a fight considering if they were unable to save the Leopard, there were no lifeboats left?

3. What do you think happens to Grant and the others who left in the lifeboats?

Essay Topic 3

Desolation Island is one book in a series of novels involving Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin. Discuss the following?

1. What is one advantage of writing a series of novels about the same characters? Use examples.

2. What is a disadvantage of writing a series of novels about the same characters? Use examples.

3. Do you prefer to read a standalone book, or a series of books with the same main characters? Explain your response.

4. Do you think it is easier or more difficult (or about the same) to write a standalone book versus one in a series? Explain your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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