The Nutmeg of Consolation 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 passes through the area?

2. Where are the nests?

3. What is the effect of the aftermath of the attack?

4. Where is Aubrey when Maturin awakes from his illness?

5. For what is Grimshaw and Killick known?

Short Essay Questions

1. What good news does Maturin receive from Sir Joseph Blaine?

2. Where does Li Po take the men and what important information Maturin gain along the on the trip?

3. With what is chapter 3 mostly concerned and why?

4. How does Paulton help Maturin with Colman and what is Maturin's ultimate objective concerning Colman?

5. What does the landing crew find on Sweeting's Island?

6. How does Aubrey choose to arm his vessel and what is the advantage and disadvantage of doing so?

7. What favor does Raffles' wife ask of Aubrey and what is his response?

8. What interests Kesegaran in the sailors' camp and why are the sailors interested in her?

9. What has been Aubrey's chief concern and why?

10. Why is Aubrey and his crew marooned?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 Nutmeg of Consolation.

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 2

In the world of academe, historical fiction is often considered an inferior form of the novel compared to "classic" literature. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think historical fiction might be considered second-rate compared to the classics?

2. Do you think historical fiction has the same elements as the classics? Why or why not?

3. What are the purposes do you think for people reading "the classics"? What are the purposes for people reading historical fiction? Is one purpose better than another? Explain your response.

4. Would you read historical fiction even outside an educational setting? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of manipulation and power in The Nutmeg of Consolation. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with manipulation and power? Why? What are some symbols of manipulation and power? Symbols of powerlessness? What characters seem powerless?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of war in The Nutmeg of Consolation. Why is Britain engaged in a war? What are some symbols of war that occur in the book? Is the war justified? Does Aubrey and (his crew perform with honor as warriors? Do you think their behavior to the enemy (first the Dyaks and then the French sailors) would be in accordance with the Geneva Conventions (you may need to research this)?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death. How does the world of Aubrey's time seem to view death? Who tries to avoid killing? Who seems to kill for frivolous reasons? Who seems afraid of dying? Not afraid? Who meets death gracefully? In resignation? With joy? With fear?

(see the answer keys)

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