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The Far Side of the World Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Far Side of the World.
This section contains 414 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Far Side of the World Study Guide

The Far Side of the World Summary & Study Guide Description

The Far Side of the World Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian.

Plot Summary

Captain Jack Aubrey commands HMS Surprise, a British ship of war. Aubrey's career aboard Surprise is well-known, successful, and exciting. In 1813, Gibraltar, Aubrey receives orders to take Surprise in pursuit of USS Norfolk, an American ship of war shortly launching from New England with the intent of disrupting British whaling interests in the South Pacific. Aubrey refits and supplies Surprise, receiving hands from a mutinous ship and the lunatic asylum to round out his crew. He is joined by his particular friend Stephen Maturin and also by the Reverend Martin. Commander Tom Pullings joins the expedition as acting first lieutenant while Mowett acts as second lieutenant. Aubrey also brings aboard Mr. Hollom, an aging and unsuccessful midshipman. The ship sails for South America amidst growing tension in the crew occasioned by Hollom's burgeoning sexual affair with Mrs. Horner, the young and attractive wife of the impotent gunner. Reaching South America Surprise abandons its patrol zone after being struck by lightning and severely damaged. After repairs Surprise is run aground on a mudflat by a drunken pilot. By the time the ship is again at sea, Norfolk is long gone. Surprise makes a difficult passage around the horn and then calls on a South Pacific island for water. Horner then murders his wife and Hollom. He returns to the ship and murders the assistant surgeon for having performed an abortion on Mrs. Horner; Horner then hangs himself in his cabin. Surprise continues to chase Norfolk. Maturin falls from the ship's stern cabin windows while trying to capture marine animals with a long-handled net. Aubrey leaps in and saves him but Surprise sails on unaware. The two men tread water for many hours before being rescued by a South Seas native craft crewed entirely by women. After a tense negotiation, they are set ashore on a deserted islet. Fortunately, they are shortly thereafter rescued by Surprise and continue on in pursuit of Norfolk. During some dirty weather, Maturin sustains a severe head injury. Surprise finally discovers the wreck of Norfolk on a reef around a small island. Aubrey takes Maturin ashore where he recovers but Surprise is driven back to sea by foul weather. The survivors of Norfolk's wreck are also ashore and a very desperate situation arises between the Americans who claim the war is over and Aubrey who maintains that it is not. A final confrontation begins to turn violent when Surprise again sails into view, settling the matter through superior firepower.

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This section contains 414 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Far Side of the World Study Guide
Copyrights
The Far Side of the World from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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