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 calls upon Aubrey shortly after he arrives home?

2. Who is circulating slander about Aubrey?

3. Where are the wounded transferred?

4. What does the mail that arrives confirm?

5. How does Maturin's final speech fare?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe Stephen Maturin.

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

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

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

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

7. Describe the meeting and interaction between Aubrey and Amanda Smith.

8. What is Aubrey's homecoming like?

9. Describe Jack Aubrey.

10. Describe Diana Villiers.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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