The Fortune of War 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 calls upon Wallis?

2. At what does Java fail?

3. What good news does the Captain offer Aubrey?

4. How does Maturin arouse humor among the cricket players and audience?

5. Why does Maturin leave the cricket match?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do you think Aubrey argues so strenuously to retain his lieutenants and midshipmen?

2. Why would the men welcome being on board the HMS Java though it is quite crammed with people?

3. What do you think it means that the officers are paroled and why is this so?

4. Who is Mrs. Wogan and how does she figure in the previous novel, which is mentioned in the initial chapters of this novel?

5. What are some events that foreshadow the loss of the La Flèche at the end of Chapter 2?

6. Do you think it would be difficult for the men to stay optimistic if after spotting a ship but they do not see you?

7. How would you respond to being in open sea in an eighteen-foot boat with twelve other people?

8. What do you think is a possible cause of La Flèche catching fire and exploding?

9. Do you think it is helpful for the author to present some background information from other books in the series, particularly the one just preceding this one?

10. What tone for the novel is set and how is it set by the references to "Abraham"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 this book qualifies as 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 is more or less advanced than you imagined? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Sailors are notoriously superstitious. Even Aubrey, though very bright in many ways, is somewhat superstitious, a trait common to many sailors. Discuss the following:

1. What is superstition? Can you name a few common superstitions? Do any of them seem to have any validity in logic?

2. Why do you think sailors have the reputation for being superstitious? Do you think it is true? What superstitions are mentioned in THE FORTUNE OF WAR?

3. What are some of the superstitions you are familiar with that sailors seem to believe? Do you believe any of them? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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