*SPOILERS* The following is a list of discussion questions relating to the first book in the Aubrey/Maturin series, Master and Commander. It is meant to be utilized after one has finished reading the entire book and contains spoilers fore and aft. Proceed with caution!
- Jack and Stephen meet in awkward circumstances; indeed it is very nearly a fatal encounter. What hints can you find in this scene of the friendship that will blossom between them?
- What is the secret connection between Stephen Maturin and James Dillon? And why does Dillon so despise Jack?
- The master of the Sophie, Mr. Marshall, has a secret as well. What is the official attitude of the Royal Navy towards homosexuality? How does it differ from Jack’s attitude, and Stephen’s?
- Jack’s military judgment in the second half of the book seems to border on recklessness. What combination of motives explains his audacious attacks?
- Mowett, the midshipman, fancies himself a poet. Are his artistic impulses out of place in the Royal Navy? Is his poetry any good?
- For such a successful commander, Jack seems to have quite difficult relations with his commanding officers. Why should this be so?
Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co.