The Commodore 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. Why does Captain Thomas refuse to speak to Maturin soon after the dinner starts?

2. How does Mrs. Williams feel about her recent conversation with Clarissa?

3. To where will the French squadron that departs from Lorient be ostensibly bound?

4. What does a messenger say about Pyramus the next morning?

5. About whom does Mrs. Williams say about a man has been making inquiries?

Short Essay Questions

1. How long is Maturin ill and what is the fleet doing when he returns to consciousness?

2. What happens when Jack and Sophie quarrel about Clarissa?

3. Why is Maturin unable to take his first foray into the jungle at Freetown?

4. Where is Dundas during some bad weather?

5. What does Sir Blaine tell Maturin about Aubrey's next assignment?

6. How does Maturin help quell rebellion in the village?

7. What does Maturin learn from Sir Blaine?

8. How are the readers show a very different side of Aubrey through his children?

9. Who visits Stephen in Bantry and what does he tell Stephen?

10. Who is Whewell and how can he help in the fleet's mission?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Many events that happen in The Commodore are foreshadowed by previous events and/or signs. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "foreshadow."

2. Why would an author use foreshadowing? Do you think it adds or detracts from your experience as a reader? Explain.

3. Trace and analyze five instances of foreshadowing in The Commodore. Match up what is mentioned earlier and what it foreshadows. Did you guess that each instance of foreshadowing was a "heads up" of something to come? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 2

Patrick O'Brian 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 The Commodore qualifies as an historical fiction? Why or why not?

2. If much of the events in the book are historical, what surprises you about the way the events play out?

3. Do you think the culture of that era (early 1800s) is more or less advanced than you imagined? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of manipulation and power in The Commodore. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with manipulation and power? Why? What are some symbols of manipulation and power? Symbols of powerlessness? What characters seem powerless?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of war in The Commodore. Why is Britain engaged in a war? What are some symbols of war that occur in the book? Is the war justified? Does Aubrey and his crew perform with honor as warriors? Do you think their behavior to the enemy would be in accordance with the Geneva Conventions (you may need to research this)?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death. How does the world of Aubrey's time seem to view death? Who tries to avoid killing? Who seems to kill for frivolous reasons? Who seems afraid of dying? Not afraid? Who meets death gracefully? In resignation? With joy? With fear?

(see the answer keys)

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