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. Where are the wounded transferred?

2. How does Smith find Aubrey to be?

3. To whom does Maturin make his report?

4. What does Maturin do at the ball?

5. What is the relationship between Harry Johnson and Villiers?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Sophie Aubrey.

2. What business does Maturin take care of while in Halifax?

3. Why are Maturin, Aubrey and Villiers anxiously awaiting Captain Broke's recovery?

4. What depresses Aubrey amidst all the celebrations?

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

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

7. What is one of Villier's prized possessions and how does she come by it?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 SURGEON'S MATE qualifies as 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 is more or less advanced than you imagined? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

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 occurs in The Surgeon's Mate that is explained by or attributed to superstition? Are there other explanations for the occurrences?

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?

Essay Topic 3

THE SURGEON'S MATE, like many, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why? not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of THE SURGEON'S MATE and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why THE SURGEON'S MATE is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. State what you think are three characteristics of a successful novel and whether or not THE SURGEON'S MATE in your opinion is a successful novel.

(see the answer keys)

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