The Surgeon's Mate 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 does Villiers' diamond necklace feature?

2. Who does Aubrey find?

3. What does Maturin do with Villiers?

4. How does Maturin respond to attempts by Frenchman to use him as a courier?

5. To whom does Maturin make his report?

Short Essay Questions

1. How are the HMS Shannon's crew and passengers greeted in Halifax?

2. Where does the Diligence arrive and what is the atmosphere of the town?

3. Where do Maturin and Villiers travel and what do they do?

4. What did the British intelligence want Maturin to do and why do they no longer need him for the assignment?

5. Describe Jack Aubrey.

6. Why is Aubrey particularly unhappy ashore?

7. What is the first thing Aubrey does upon arriving back in England?

8. How does Smith behave during this waiting period and what is Aubrey's response?

9. What does Villiers confide in Maturin and how does he respond?

10. What do Maturin and Villiers think about Aubrey's behavior with Smith?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Villiers leaves Maturin for Johnson, travels to America, and renounces her British citizenship. Throughout this period, Maturin sufferes a fairly deep depression and manages his emotion by withdrawal and opium addiction. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think the use of opium is not regulated as it is today?

2. Do you think it is a more or less enlightened society that regulates personal drug use? Explain.

3. Do you think the execution of Maturin's duties are compromised by his frequent use of opium? Why or why not? Give examples from the text.

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 Mauritius.

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 3

Most protagonists are a mixture of admirable traits and character flaws, and Jack Aubrey is no exception. Aubrey's insight and a nearly infallible instinct tends to carry him through the various perils he encounters.

1. Trace and analyze situations when Aubrey demonstrates his instinct for handling problems at sea. Give specific examples to illustrate your analysis.

2. Trace and analyze Aubrey's character flaws, especially his ineptness on land, with business ventures and wandering eye as far as women are concerned.

3. Discuss how you think Aubrey's admirable traits helped him obtain a high rank in the Navy? How does Aubrey hide his character flaws so they have not impeded his career. Do any of those under his command seem to notice these flaws? Who? How does the reader know this?

(see the answer keys)

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