Trivia Quiz for “Jamaica Inn” by Daphne du Maurier

Trivia Quiz for Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (1936)

For West Seattle “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club, 9/27/20

A. Heroes and Villains

1. “Tainted by Merlyn blood”: the brothers Jem and Joss Merlyn seem to live under a curse. Examples from the book include all but one of the following. Which affliction do they not share?

a. both brothers have stolen property from others

b. both brothers have witnessed their father beating their mother and express indifference to women’s rights

c. both brothers have committed murder

d. both brothers keep slovenly homes, speak and act in ill-tempered ways, and have poor hygiene habits

B. You call that love? Gender relations, prejudices and expectations

The Merlyn brothers express many comments on women in Jamaica Inn, but they are not alone. The heroine Mary Yellan also speaks ill of her sex. Match the quote to the character who says it.

Characters include: a. Francis Davey; b. Jem Merlyn; c. Joss Merlyn; d. Mary Yellan


2. “Starvation is good for women and beasts; it brings ‘em to heel.”

3. “Women are always mean.”

4. “Why were women such fools, so short-sighted and unwise?”

5. “I know the dreams of women better than you do yourself.”

6. The women in Jamaica Inn conform to conventional gender roles in many ways, including all but one of the following. Which act does not appear in the novel?

a. Eyeing the dirty household of a bad-tempered bachelor, the heroine “set to work at once.”

b. Aunt Patience acts like a “frightened child” in the presence of her husband, Joss Merlyn.

c. Aunt Patience fawns like a “whimpering dog that has been trained by constant cruelty.”

d. At the end, the heroine agrees to marry the vicar despite her preference for a horse thief.

7. The heroine imagines other ways to live, if only she were a man. Which of the following careers is not mentioned?

a. clerk in a law office

b. tramp the road

c. work on a ship

d. do a man’s work on a farm

C. Cornish flora, fauna and place names

8. There are many picturesque places named in Jamaica Inn, where the action spans the Cornish peninsula in southwestern England. Which of the following is not named?

a. Trewartha Marsh

b. Barouche-Landau

c. Brown Willy

d. Twelve Men’s Moor

e. Rushyford

f. Cheesewring

9. This wild and windswept part of England is home to strange rock formations as well as much flora and fauna; it all comes alive in beautiful descriptions. Which of the following is not present?

a. “long stones that stood on end, balancing themselves in a queer, miraculous way”

b. “strange hot winds” that blow in from Spain

c. wild sheep, buzzards, and ravens: “all solitary things”

d. a silence that “belonged to another age … past and vanished … when men did not exist but pagan footsteps trod upon the hills”

D. The weird vicar!

10. The vicar of Altarnun, Mr. Francis Davey, is an ambiguous character, full of paradoxes. Which item on this list of paradoxical attributes is not in the novel?

a. He professes God’s love, yet his artwork depicts the members of his parish in grotesque caricature that reveals an abiding cynicism.

b. He suffers from albinism and is described as a “freak of nature,” yet he seems very strong and powerful in some ways.

c. He has very short stubby fingers, but plays the piano beautifully.

d. His house, a rectory, is described as lacking any papers, books or art with biblical themes.

E. Style and technique

Daphne du Maurier may not be terribly innovative stylistically, but she does recycle clichés in interesting ways to describe human manipulation. Match the quote with the character in question.

Characters include: a. Francis Davey; b. Jem Merlyn


11. He “played her as an angler plays the fish upon his line”

12. She “rose like a fish to his bait”


1. c. only one of the brothers, Joss Merlyn (Aunt Patience’s husband), is a murderer.

2. c. Joss Merlyn has the distinction of saying, “Starvation is good for women and beasts; it brings ‘em to heel.”

3. b. Jem Merlyn complains, “Women are always mean.”

4. d. Mary Yellan despairs of her sex, “Why were women such fools, so short-sighted and unwise?” 

5. a. The creepy pastor, Francis Davey, declares to Mary: “I know the dreams of women better than you do yourself.”

6.  d. At the end, the heroine does not agree to marry the vicar. She flees with the ill-tempered horse thief, Jem Merlyn (who, compared to his terrifying brother, is a prince). He’s honest in his boorishness, promising her “a hard life, and a wild one at times… and little rest and comfort. Men are ill companions when the mood takes them.”

7. a.

8. b.

9. b.

10. c.

11. b. Jem Merlyn insinuates himself into the heroine’s good graces, “played her as an angler plays the fish upon his line.”

12. a. Francis Davey succeeds, when she “rose like a fish to his bait.”