Sharpe's Christmas 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. What is wrong with Colonel Gudin's feet?

2. At what does the French brigade fire?

3. Who is Ensign Nicholls?

4. What do two of the volumes of Gudin's diaries concern?

5. What does Sharpe order from Irati for his men?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do the French do about the remaining barrels, and what is Sharpe facing from the south?

2. What does Harper think about the British coming into conflict with the French? What does Sharpe think about it? Why?

3. With what types of troubles is Gudin plagued?

4. Why did Cornwell think writing about a Christmas with Sharpe was odd?

5. What does Cornwell say about the people who helped him write Sharpe's Christmas? What else does he address in the introduction?

6. What does Cornwell say about Sharpe's Christmas in the introduction?

7. What does Gudin think about when he thinks of India?

8. What does Sharpe order when the French send in the voltiguers, and what does Sharpe's order tell the French?

9. What are Sharpe and Harper attempting to do for Christmas at the beginning of the story? How is their task interrupted?

10. What has Sharpe been doing for the past ten years? Whom does he command? Why? When do Sharpe and his men march? What does Sharpe ignore?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are a number of literary elements that occur in many works of fiction. Irony is a means of increasing both the humor and the complexity of a story. Cornwell often includes irony in his Richard Sharpe series. Point of view is the way the story is narrated; all works of fiction have a point of view. Conflict is almost always present in a work of fiction. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary terms irony, point of view and conflict.

2. Identify two instances of irony in Sharpe's Christmas, offering examples from the text.

3. Identify the point of view of the novel and discuss why you think Cornwell chooses to use that particular point of view. Does the point of view seem to be the best one for Sharpe's Christmas? Why or why not.

4. Identfiy two major conflicts in Sharpe's Christmas. Are the conflicts completely resolved by the end of Sharpe's Christmas? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Often titles reveal much about one or more aspects of a novel. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think is the purpose of a title? How closely related to a major theme(s) of a book do you think a title should be? Or should it be?

2. Sharpe's Christmas suggests these short stories might be different from Sharpe in a war situation. Discuss this title and the theme behind it.

3. If you were the writer of Sharpe's Christmas and your editor says the title must be changed, what would you choose? Why?

4. Discuss the titles of the two short stories and their meanings in the context of the story. Evaluate the effectiveness of the title.

Essay Topic 3

Any work of fiction has some similarities, yet the structure can engender differences. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast how the structure of the short stories, Sharpe's Christmas and Sharpe's Ransom, informs the reading experience to how the structure of one of Cornwell's novels might do the same.

2. Many readers love novels and are indifferent to short stories, and vice versa. Discuss why you think some readers would enjoy one format over another.

3. Choose a short, one-act play and compare it to one of the short stories as far as how structure affects the reading experience.

(see the answer keys)

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