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. About what does Clarissa worry concerning Mrs. Williams' visit?

2. For whom does Sophie hold a dinner party?

3. What of Maturin's is in danger?

4. To what does Stephen admit when he asks a favor of Jack?

5. What bothers Maturin on the ship?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Stephen and Smith talk about concerning the way Stephen is feeling?

2. What happens as Stephen rides to Portsmouth?

3. Why has Aubrey's dark mood returned?

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

5. How is Captain Thomas characterized?

6. What does Aubrey learn when he opens his orders and what does he ask Maturin concerning the orders?

7. Whose death does Maturin learn of as he is traveling to meet Diana, and how does she receive Maturin?

8. What happens as the fleet is leaving The Berlings and what is Aubrey's thought on the matter?

9. What does Aubrey find when he gets home and what happens to him as he rides to Woolcombe?

10. What happens in the dinner with Maturin?

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

Discuss one of the following:

1. Define irony in literary terms. Discuss two ironic situations that occur in The Commodore.

2. Define symbolism in literary terms. Discuss the use and meaning of five symbols you choose to analyze from The Commodore. 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 The Commodore 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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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