Desolation Island Setting & Symbolism

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Sea-Fencibles

The sea-fencibles was a naval organization that putatively protected England from invasion by French forces during the Napoleonic Wars. The force was mostly composed of naval officers and volunteers. The entire English coast was divided into sections, each commanded by a Post-Captain. Aubrey starts the novel in the Sea-Fencibles prior to being transferred to H.M.S. Leopard.

Laudanum

Laudanum, or tincture of opium, is an alcoholic herbal extract of opium—in simple terms, it is nearly pure ethanol fortified with morphine. Throughout the novel, Maturin administers doses to patients as medically appropriate. He also battles his personal addiction to the drug, refraining from using it at the beginning of Leopard's voyage but succumbing to its addictive allure during the voyage. In the novel, Maturin refers occasionally to laudanum as being packaged in Winchester quarts.

H.M.S. Leopard

H.M.S. Leopard is a two-decker...

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This section contains 1,198 words
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Buy the Desolation Island Study Guide
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