The Commodore Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is said of the citizens of the village where the French were headed?

2. With what does Stephen return from his excusion on the Sinon?

3. What does Square agree to do?

4. What does Aubrey think about the fighting condition of the fleet?

5. How does Aubrey hope to engage the French fleet?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

During this era when the book takes place, if a vessel under the command of a naval officer captures another vessel from a country with whom they are warring or captures a pirate vessel, etc...the crew of the victorious vessel shares in the goods, money and value of the vessel. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think the British had such a policy in place then?

2. What are the possible abuses that can arise from such a policy?

3. Why do you think this policy is eventually abandoned?

4. Which vessel(s) are mentioned in The Commodore that fall(s) under this maritime law and what are the circumstances of their capture? Does it seem fair?

Essay Topic 2

In addition to understanding the war in which O'Brian's novels are set, it is quite helpful to have a basic understanding of nautical terminology and the types of ships and their armaments that were used during the early 1800s. Discuss the following:

1. Define ten of the most commonly-used shipboard terms and discuss how those terms are used in The Hundred Days.

2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ships used in the early 1800s?

3. How is the British navy organized during this period (early 1800s) and how different do you think it is organized today (including how one rises in rank).

4. Compare/contrast one of the naval battles/hostile actions between two vessels described in the novel with one from WWII.

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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