The Thirteen-gun Salute 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 is Aubrey's primary goal in captaining the Surprise?

2. What does Maturin do as Aubrey is being reinstated?

3. What is Aubrey's personal new orders?

4. In what does Maturin instruct Standish as the ship enters the first port?

5. How do Aubrey and his group get to Corunna?

Short Essay Questions

1. What kind of journey did Sir Joseph have from Corunna and why has he come to Lisbon?

2. What will complicate Aubrey's new mission?

3. Who is Maturin's assistant, why is he on the Surprise and how are he and Maturin similar?

4. What does Standish ask for at Lisbon and how does Aubrey respond?

5. What does Maturin think about in relation to Padeen?

6. Who shows up right before departure to join the crew and in what position?

7. Who owns the Surprise and what kind of work does the owner do?

8. What new orders are Aubrey given in Lisbon?

9. Why is the man in question #2 on the Surprise?

10. What is the crew of the Surprise like?

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 Thirteen Gun Salute qualifies as an 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

Often in O'Brian's series involving Jack Aubrey, his ship and/or life is saved by extraordinary means. Discuss the following:

1. Research and define the literary term "narrative contrivance."

2. Identify and analyze a time in the book when O'Brian makes free use of the technique of narrative contrivance to save Aubrey and his ship or to set up a subplot in Thirteen Gun Salute.

3. Does the use of narrative contrivance diminish the impact of the plot? The believability of the storyline?

4. Is there any other way O'Brian could have a mixture of suspense and action while at the same time making certain the main characters are not killed?

Essay Topic 3

The near catastrophe at Inaccessible Island foreshadows the eventual wreck of Diane on the False Natunas. In the first encounter the island is obvious and obviously perilous while the latter island is invisible and invisibly dangerous. Discuss the following:

1. Symbolically, how do the two situations above relate to life in general?

2. How might the financial problems both Aubrey and Maturin are having be related to the above sentence? For example, what types of financial pitfalls are obvious and might be avoided and what types might be invisible and devastating?

3. In modern America, what types of situations within America's relationship to other nations in the world might qualify as obvious and obviously perilous and what might be invisible and invisibly dangerous?

(see the answer keys)

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