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. Who has sent for Sharpe?

2. To whom is the telescope inscribed through which Sharpe is looking?

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

4. What is the state of England in Sharpe's Ransom?

5. What does Cornwell say that characters sometimes do?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. What finally breaks up the French brigade's advance?

3. Where does Sharpe send his skirmishers? What is the result?

4. Why is General Picard upset? What pleases him about his men? Why does he think he is different from Gudin?

5. What does Cornwell briefly describe in the introduction?

6. How do the French play into Sharpe's trick with wine barrels?

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

8. What does Hogan tell Sharpe will be his immediate assignment?

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

10. How does Sharpe give the French warning, and why does he warn them?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze one major theme of Sharpe's Christmas. Consider the following: How does one character's actions portray the theme you are analyzing? How does the setting contribute to that theme? Is the theme one that you would call a "universal theme"? If so, what other book or novel that you have read also includes this theme. If not, why don't you think it is a "universal" theme?

2. Trace and analyze two secondary themes of Sharpe's Christmas. How does one character's actions portray the themes you are analyzing? How does the setting contribute to those themes? Is each theme one that you would call a "universal theme"? If so, what other book or novel that you have read also includes this theme. If not, why don't you think it is a "universal" theme?

3. What benefit is there in discussing and analyzing the themes of a work of fiction? Do you think most authors consciously develop themes in their works? Why or why not? Can there be accidental themes? What do you think is one possible "accidental" theme in Sharpe's Christmas? Which theme in Sharpe's Christmas speaks to you the most in your life? Why?

Essay Topic 2

Cornwell has tried 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 Sharpe's Christmas qualifies as an historical fiction? Why or why not?

2. If much of the events in Sharpe's Christmas 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.

Essay Topic 3

Sharpe says repeatedly in the first short story that Christmas is no time for killing. Traditionally, throughout the history of war since the advent of Christianity a truce for Christmas has been enacted between two "Christian" nations who are at war and in fact, there are many incidences of enemies eating or drinking together on Christmas day then shooting at each other the day after.

1. Discuss the incongruous of enacting a truce for one day then reverting to killing in a mere 24 hours. Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

2. What do you think are the necessary psychological change for a person to eat Christmas dinner with another who will be attempting to kill that person the next day? Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

3. Discuss the implications for hope of an end to war if enemies can be civil on Christmas Day. Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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