The Surgeon's Mate Test | Final 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 leads the forces at Grimsholm?

2. What is Jagiello supposed to be doing?

3. Why does Minnie slow down?

4. Why does Aubrey get struck with a piece of hard meat?

5. Who joins Aubrey in chasing the Minnie?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who does the Ariel encounter and what does Aubrey decide to do?

2. Why is Hyde cutting Jagiello's meat and what happens at dinner one evening when Hyde does so?

3. How does the Minnie complete her mission?

4. How does the Ariel slow the Médusae down enough for the HMS Jason to catch the Médusae?

5. What happens to several of the French officers aboard the Minnie?

6. What is the emergency to which Aubrey awakens?

7. How does Lieutenant Grant slander Aubrey's name even further?

8. What does Ariel do after leaving Grisholm?

9. Describe the Grimsholm fortress.

10. Why is Aubrey concerned when there is stormy weather?

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

Most people and regular soldiers detest spies and the idea of spying. Spies are not considered in the same vein as soldiers in uniform and are not protected by the customs and regulations that govern the treatment of soldiers who are in uniform when captured. Maturin is a spy for the British government. Discuss one of the following:

1. Why do you think spies are not accorded any rights under many countries' laws and/or customs?

2. Even though all countries abhor spies, often even their own, they still spy, and men and women are still willing to be spies. Discuss why you think this is so.

3. Research and analyze the history of spying in either England, the United States or Russa.

4. Does Maturin seem the image of a typical spy as you visualize one? Why or why not.

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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