Sharpe's Skirmish 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 the main obstacle of Soult's forces that are traveling North?

2. What does Harper tell Sharpe about Tubbs?

3. What did the sacrifice at Avila do?

4. From what is Sharpe recovering?

5. What is spreading through the Spanish countryside?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Major Pierre Ducos.

2. What is Sharpe's response to Teresa's question about Gawilghur?

3. About what are Sharp's men objecting and why do they stop complaining?

4. Who welcomes Sharpe to San Miguel and what is he like?

5. Why is Major Ducos in Spain?

6. Why does Teresa become enraged about what she hears about Avila?

7. What does the author say about "Sharpe's Skirmish" in his introduction to the story?

8. Who is MacKeon and what is his connection to Sharpe?

9. Why is Soult amenable to Ducos' request for some of Soult's men?

10. What is Sharpe's mission in relation to Major Tubbs and why does he take his mission seriously?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Most protagonists are a mixture of admirable traits and character flaws, and Richard Sharpe is no exception.

1. Trace and analyze situations when Sharpe demonstrates his admirable traits. Give specific examples to illustrate your analysis.

2. Trace and analyze Sharpe's character flaws, and explain how the flaws create more complex and believable characters. How do you think either man's character flaws make some situations more difficult for him?

3. After analyzing Sharpe's strengths and weaknesses, decide if Sharpe is an appropriate "hero" of the story. Is there anyone else who might be a more admirable "hero"?

4. Answer the above questions for one other person you think could be considered a hero in "Sharpe's Skirmish".

Essay Topic 2

Cornwell is masterful in his description of battles and life in general in for a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s. Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze Cornwell's descriptive passages about life as a soldier. How does he use descriptions of the five senses to make the reader feel s/he is there? Do you find his descriptions compelling? Seemingly accurate? How would the novel be different if Cornwell did not include such descriptive passages?

2. Analyze Cornwell's descriptive passages about the social structure of the times and discuss what you think it would be like to be a person of wealth and/or privilege such as Major Tubbs or Ducos. Contrast that to the lives of those who are in a lower social strata such as Sharpe and Harper or one in service to someone of wealth and/or privilege.

3. Describe and analyze Cornwell's descriptive passages about the topographical setting and the physical descriptions of the people. Does Cornwell do an adequate job of actually making the reader "see" the land/sea where the action is taking place? How about getting a visual image of the characters? How does the descriptions of the setting add to the novel? Do you like having an idea of how a character looks? How would the novel be different without such descriptions?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Define irony in literary terms. Discuss the irony of the situation of when Major Tubbs is disparaging of Sharpe because he rose through the ranks and is not a "gentleman" born, but it is Major Tubbs who plans to defraud his country by selling off rifles that are perfectly good and pocketing the money. What other situations contain irony in "Sharpe's Skirmish"?

2. Define symbolism in literary terms. Discuss the use and meaning of five symbols you choose to analyze from Sharpe's Skirmish. What do they symbolize? Is the symbolism obvious? Effective? Does the symbolism contribute to the enjoyment of reading?

3. Discuss five literary devices that occur in "Sharpe's Skirmish" and how they are used. Are they effective? Do they add or detract from the reading of the book? Why or why not. Some possible techniques: Allusion, connotation, denouement, dialogue, flashback, figurative language, motif, metaphor, narrator, point of view, simile, mood, and puns.

(see the answer keys)

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