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 surprises Captain Dalgliesh?

2. What happens to the crew on that schooner?

3. What does Maturin realize about Villiers?

4. What impresses Smith about Aubrey?

5. What does Maturin do with Villiers?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why is Aubrey particularly unhappy ashore?

3. What is Villiers' reception like at the ball?

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

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

6. Describe Jack Aubrey.

7. What is the situation with Aubrey, Maturin and Villiers at the opening of THE SURGEON'S MATE?

8. Describe Diana Villiers.

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

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

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

Though it is not as evident in this book as others, most of the entire series of novels concerning Captain Jack Aubrey takes place during the Napoleonic Wars; therefore understanding the political and social situation during that time helps to a greater understanding and appreciation of this book and others in the series. Discuss one of the following:

1. Research and write an expository essay about how the Napoleonic Wars begin and end.

2. Research and write an expository essay about the naval aspect of the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France.

3. Compare/Contrast the importance of the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars to the importance of the British navy during either WWI or WWII.

Essay Topic 3

There are a number of instances of foreshadowing in THE SURGEON'S MATE. Many, readers will suspect hint at something to come; others, the readers may not be aware until the event which is foreshadowed occurs. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term foreshadow. Why do you think authors foreshadow a future event? What might be a reader's reaction to a sudden tragic or wonderful event if there were no hints whatsoever that it might occur?

2. Find four events that are foreshadowed in previous chapters and pair up the foreshadowing text with the event. Analyze each event to include the following: What is foreshadowed? Is the method O'Brian uses to foreshadow effective? Did you guess when a particular text was foreshadowing a future event? Did you guess what the event is?

3. Along with foreshadowing, symbolism usually plays a role in most works of fiction? How extensive is the use of symbolism in The Surgeon's Mate? Is there enough symbolism to add depth to the writing? Interest to the writing? Explain your statements with examples.

(see the answer keys)

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