Lesson 1 (from Preface)
In order to prepare the reader for the story about the sinking of the Essex, Philbrick begins the Preface with an explanation of whaling in the Pacific Ocean. This lesson is about the literary reasons for the background information along with when, how, and why sailors from Nantucket hunted whales.
1) Class Discussion: What year is it when Philbrick begins the story about whaling in the Essex? How is the nineteenth century described? What are the main things that Philbrick includes about that time period? Which facts about sperm whales does Philbrick mention in the Preface and why?
2) Writing and Analysis: Have the class take 15 minutes and write down 3 literary reasons why the Preface features background information about the whaling that took place during the nineteenth century. Afterward, talk about the answers and what Philbrick might have been trying to accomplish by beginning the book...
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