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. How does Leopard compare to Waakzaamheid?

3. What needs to be made in order to mount the rudder?

4. What surprises Aubrey when morning arrives?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What decision of Aubrey's does Grant criticize?

2. What sort of mystical or less than "real" explanation is given as a cause for the ship's survival?

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

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

5. From what is the ship saved right after it makes safe harbor at Desolation Island?

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

7. What danger is the Leopard facing after the battle with the Dutch?

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 Aubrey win the battle with the Dutch ship?

10. La Fayette has a forge but Aubrey cannot in good conscience request a favor--England and America are nearly at war. Likewise, Putnam, La Fayette's master, will not request favors from Aubrey. Do you think it is strange that on an island in the middle of nowhere a ship's captain wouldn't be bound by some rule of hospitality? Why or why not?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Maturin finds Aubrey engaged in pursuing get-rich-quick schemes when Maturin visits. Discuss the following:

1. Can someone be an honorable man, which Aubrey is reputed to be, and engage in get-rich-schemes? Why or why not?

2. Why do you think a ship captain of Aubrey's stature and fine reputation has to make money in other ways? Is this right?

3. What do you think would happen to a Captain in the United States Navy today if he were living a life of desolation?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In addition to understanding the war in which O'Brian's novels are set, it is quite helpful to have a basic understanding of nautical terminology and the types of ships and their armaments that were used during the early 1800s. Discuss the following:

1. Define ten of the most commonly-used shipboard terms and discuss how those terms are used in Desolation Island.

2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ships used in the early 1800s?

3. How is the British navy organized during this period (early 1800s) and how different do you think it is organized today (including how one rises in rank).

4. Compare/contrast one of the naval battles described in the novel with one from WWII.

(see the answer keys)

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