The Letter of Marque 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 suspects Maturin has an addiction?

2. In what direction does Aubrey go in his first cruise of Surprise?

3. What does Maturin believe the two men from question #42 have in the British government?

4. What does Maturin give Aubrey as the ship in question #38 closes?

5. How might Aubrey's situation be corrected?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Aubrey decide to do about Spartan and what does he do in order to carry out his plan?

2. What is one of the primary talks at the formal dinner aboard ship the night before sailing?

3. Who does Maturin see as Aubrey waits on him for sailing?

4. To what is Maturin addicted and who discusses it with him?

5. Why is Maturin late for Surprise's sailing?

6. What type of work does Maturin do and for what is he also known?

7. What does Maturin do and where does he do it right after he buys her?

8. What is Aubrey's situation at the beginning of THE LETTER OF MARQUE?

9. What is Aubrey concerned about in reference to his crew?

10. What kind of crew does Aubrey obtain and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Surprise captures two American privateers and their five prizes. One of the privateers contained the entire considerable treasure of the Spanish ship Azul. Though Spain and England are allies against France and America, at this point in history, the fact that the American ship had transferred the cargo and the Spanish officers had deserted their sinking ship makes the quicksilver Aubrey's legal prize.

Not only is Great Britian engaged in a war against France and Napoleon's allies, it is at the time of THE LETTER OF MARQUE engaged in a war with the United States, later named the War of 1812. Discuss the following:

1. What is the War of 1812 and why does it occur? Do you think the British or Americans are most to blame for the problems that engender the war? to which side does O'Brian show the most sympathy?

2. How does it feel if you are from the United States to read about a war from the perspective of the "enemy"? How does that affect your reactions to the events in the book?

3. What do you think are the unique problems for Great Britain in being engaged in wars on two different fronts? Do you think Great Britain was unwise in not settling the issues with the United States rather than going to war? Why or why not.

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 LETTER OF MARQUE.

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 described in the novel with one from WWII.

Essay Topic 3

Though this novel is probably more action driven rather than character driven, obviously there are several characters who make the novel what it is. Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Aubrey and Maturin. How are they similar? How are they different? Would you consider one of them a stronger character than the other? How does each of them add to the story?

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Maturin and Sir Joseph. How are they similar? How are they different? Would you consider one of them a stronger character than the other? How does each of them add to the story?

3. Thoroughly analyze the character of Jack Aubrey, discussing both his strong and weak points and how both affect the outcome of the plot.

(see the answer keys)

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