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. Who gave Villiers the diamond necklace?

2. How is Villiers' appearance at the ball?

3. How does Aubrey treat Smith?

4. What does Maturin realize about Villiers?

5. What is the name of one of the American schooners that converges on the ship where Maturin, Aubrey and Villiers are?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Stephen Maturin.

2. Describe Amanda Smith.

3. Describe Sophie Aubrey.

4. What depresses Aubrey amidst all the celebrations?

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

6. Why is Aubrey particularly unhappy ashore?

7. Who pursues the Diligence and what is the outcome?

8. What happens in the encounter between Aubrey and several businessmen who call upon him?

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

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

Though the author O'Brian may or may not have such personal views on women, the way women are characterized in his naval series is often less than complimentary. Discuss one of the following:

1. Present and analyze the treatment of women in THE SURGEON'S MATE. How is it that women such as Amanda Smith and Diana Villiers receive contempt for sexual relations outside of marriage while the men (such as Aubrey who also commits adultery) do not?

2. O'Brian is trying to be historically accurate, so is his treatment of women in his book(s) justified?

3. Is there any way O'Brian could have presented women in a more positive light as other than whore or wife and still stayed historically accurate? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

Maturin acts as a covert agency for the Crown and at the beginning of the novel has just escaped serious problems in the United States because of this. Later, when the Ariel wrecks and the crew is captured by the French, Maturin plans his suicide because of information he has due to his position.

1. What sort of covert operations does Maturin undertake? How similar do you think his covert operations are to that of an organization such as the CIA of today?

2. How much does Maturin's covert operations effect good outcomes for the British during this novel? Is the operation at Grimshold a covert operation? What is the outcome of that operation?

3. Do you see any conflict of interests between being a doctor and also a covert operator? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 3

Aubrey is an officer and a gentleman and is therefore accorded more respect and trust even in enemy territory than the common sailor. Discuss the following:

1. Does it seem likely that officers are usually more respectable than enlisted men back then? What about today? Why or why not.

2. Aubrey has an adulterous affair with Amanda Smith in Halifax. Do you think this is how an officer and gentleman comports himself? Why or why not.

3. In the present military in the United States, both officers and enlisted can be held for court martial for adultery or having sexual relations with someone of inferior rank. Why do you think this is so? Do you agree with the policy?

4. In the time in which THE SURGEON'S MATE is set, an officer's word was assumed to always be good; whereas a non-officer was not considered trustworthy. What is the flaw in this standard? Do you think it affects them moral and/or morals of non-officers? How?

(see the answer keys)

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