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 does the crew of Surprise feel about Aubrey's treatment of Dutourd and the Franklin?

2. How does Franklin compare to Surprise in size?

3. What do the religious groups from the town in question #50 hate mutually?

4. For whom is Aubrey making sea observations?

5. What does Maturin conclude about Martin?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Dutourd say about surrender and what does Aubrey discover in Franklin's papers?

2. How does Reade accidentally slow down the Surprise?

3. What is Maturin's personal reason for going to Peru?

4. How have the crew fared during the event at the beginning of Chapter 2?

5. What means does Maturin use to think about Martin?

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

7. What do Maturin and Aubrey do as they sail to Peru?

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

9. What does Vidal talk to Maturin about?

10. How does Aubrey handle the taking of the Franklin and what is the most pressing need for the ship?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Wine-dark Sea, like many, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note in that the Surprise was saved by an English battleship.

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 Wine-dark Sea and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why The Wine-dark Sea 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 Wine-dark Sea in your opinion is a successful novel.

Essay Topic 2

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 The Wine-dark Sea.

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).

Essay Topic 3

Though The Wine-dark Sea is probably more action driven rather than character driven, obviously there are several characters who make the novel what it is. Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Aubrey and Maturin. How are they similar? How are they different? Would you consider one of them a stronger character than the other? How does each of them add to the story?

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Maturin and Sir Joseph. How are they similar? How are they different? Would you consider one of them a stronger character than the other? How does each of them add to the story?

3. Thoroughly analyze the character of Jack Aubrey, discussing both his strong and weak points and how both affect the outcome of the plot.

(see the answer keys)

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