H.M.S. Surprise 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. Who wants to examine the biological specimens on St. Paul's Rocks?

2. How does Mr. Nicolls, the second lieutenant, appear during the inspection?

3. Whom do Aubrey and his men plan to free at Port Mahon?

4. How does Maturin help Aubrey's career in Chapter four?

5. Maturin pays to stay informed of the whereabouts of whom?

Short Essay Questions

1. Besides problems with previous debts, what other disadvantage is there for Aubrey when ashore in England?

2. Describe the encounter between Aubrey's crew members and the French guard detail at the prison.

3. Why is Nicolls almost inconsolable?

4. How is Maturin an advocate for Aubrey concerning the H.M.S. Surprise?

5. What details does Aubrey omit from his letter to Sophie about the land raid he and the crew perform while headed for Minorca?

6. During the meeting of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, why is Sir Joseph Blain worried about the First Lord's mention of Dr. Stephen Maturin?

7. How does Maturin react to the prospect of collecting biological specimens?

8. What is the condition of the prisoner Maturin when Aubrey's crew take him away from the prison?

9. How does Jack Aubrey come to command the H.M.S. Lively?

10. Describe Dr. Stephen Maturin's relationship with Sophie Williams.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian is set in history over 200 years ago. Do you think the story can be told as well if set in today's society? What major changes can be made? How might the morality of society and the characters be different?

Essay Topic 2

Maturin throws naval terms about, but really has little knowledge of the sea and sailing vessels. Aubrey is a man at home on the water, but he faints at a surgical procedure. Why are these two men such devoted friends to each other? What does each give and receive in the relationship?

Essay Topic 3

How do letters advance the plot of the novel? Think about letters written by any of the major characters. What kind of information does the author give the reader through letters? Are the letters an effective means of moving the plot?

(see the answer keys)

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