The Wine-dark Sea 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. How long does it take for West to recover from his injury?

2. What does Aubrey do about Franklin?

3. What does Surprise's crew do about the two ships?

4. What type of old injury does Reade show?

5. Why did Martin spend a lot of time with the woman?

Short Essay Questions

1. What type of mix is Surprise's crew and for what are some of the older members known?

2. What is Maturin's relationship to Aubrey and what is his mission?

3. What kind of region has Surprise sail into in Chapter 2 and what has happened in that region?

4. What were the mortar rounds the Surprise crew thought were being sent at them?

5. What does Aubrey demand of Dutourd about Franklin and how does the crew of the Surprise feel about it?

6. Who is Clarissa Harvill, why was she on the Surprise, and what did Aubrey make her do?

7. How is Martin behaving and what does Maturin see Martin doing?

8. What does Vidal talk to Maturin about?

9. How does Dutourd behave aboard the Surprise?

10. What does Maturin write to Diana about Martin and how does Martin and Maturin's friendship fare?

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 Wine-dark Sea 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 The Wine-dark Sea.

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

There are a number of instances of foreshadowing in The Wine-dark Sea. Many of these instances, readers will recognize as probable foreshadowing; 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 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 Wine-dark Sea? 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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