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. What is it about the crew Aubrey has that is unusual?

2. What has Maturin obtained that will enable him to use the Surprise?

3. How does Martin feel about Maturin's request?

4. What kind of relationship do Maturin and Aubrey have?

5. What kind of addiction does Maturin have?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Maturin and Martin do after they join the ship's company and how does Aubrey feel there? What happens to encourage Aubrey?

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

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

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

5. What does Aubrey do about the ship they raise near the end of the storm? What does Maturin find out from a man on the ship?

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

7. Where has Spartan stashed its prizes and why?

8. How does Aubrey feel about the efficiency of the work on Surprise and why?

9. How does Padeen get injured and why does he continue to take pain medication?

10. Which old friends or crew members join Aubrey on Surprise?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare/contrast Aubrey's seamanship with that of Babbington.

2. Thoroughly analyze the character of Maturin, discussing both his strong and weak points and how both affect the outcome of the plot.

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

Essay Topic 2

O'Brian's female characters are almost always peripheral to the story line of any of his novels. Discuss one of the following in view of O'Brian's female characters in THE LETTER OF MARQUE.

1. What type of reader demographics do you think THE LETTER OF MARQUE might appeal to given the limited scope of O'Brian's female characters. Use examples from THE LETTER OF MARQUE or other O'Brian books you have read to support your answer.

2. Do you think O'Brian's books would be better with more in depth female characters? Why or why not? Use examples from THE LETTER OF MARQUE or other O'Brian books you have read to support your answer.

3. Do you think the O'Brian's paucity of female characters reflects history in our reality? Discuss why it might be possible that females played more significant roles in history but were ignored by the primarily male historians through the ages.

Essay Topic 3

Part of the Sethians' religious worship involves clearly marking their homes with the name Seth, and thus the Sethians have marked Surprise--their beloved home--with the name Seth. Upon being ordered to remove the painted name, they had refused, as had the remainder of the superstitious crew.

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 Letter of Marque?

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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