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. Where is Aubrey when Maturin awakes from his illness?

2. What suddenly lands on the beach?

3. Whose nests does Maturin find?

4. To where does the junk take the British sailors?

5. What does Aubrey admire about the Captain of the Marines?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what condition does Aubrey find the Surprise?

2. What do Maturin and Martin do and what do they find?

3. Who does the Nutmeg of Consolation encounter and what do they learn?

4. What does Maturin say is wrong and what does he do?

5. What does Maturin give Paulton for his help?

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

7. How does Maturin find himself in a duel and what is the crew's response?

8. How does Maturin spend much of his time, and what do the men do besides working on the boat?

9. Who is William Grimshaw and how does he help provide comic relief on board?

10. Why is the situation not as precarious as it could be for the marooned men?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

During this era in which The Nutmeg of Consolation is set, there are strongly-adhered-to class distinctions. Aubrey and Maturin are both gentlemen. Discuss one of the following:

1. How do the divisions of class tend to make divisions among men? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a class-based society? What evidence is there of those advantages and disadvantages in The Nutmeg of Consolation?

2. In the English military of that era, nobles and gentlemen generally were the officers and very few of the working or peasant class could cross the line into officer territory. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a system?

3. Do you think there is a class system in the United States? Does it carry over to the military? Why or why not? (Some research may be required.)

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 Nutmeg of Consolation 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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