In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

Nathaniel Philbrick
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What is the name of the newspaper that includes the article about the Marquesas before the ship sets sail from Nantucket?
(a) New Bedford Mercury.
(b) New Bedford Gazette.
(c) New Bedford Standard Times.
(d) New Bedford Community News.

2. What allows a sperm whale the ability to survive a head on collision with a boat?
(a) It's body is designed to absorb tremendous shock.
(b) It's tail acts as a stabilizer to minimize the impact.
(c) It's head is shaped like a battering ram.
(d) It's speed makes it impervious to the impact.

3. What does the Aurora bring for the crew of the Essex?
(a) More food.
(b) Letters from home.
(c) Sailors and boats.
(d) More weapons.

4. How many miles does it take the crew to set and trim the sails of the Essex?
(a) More than ten.
(b) Less than nine.
(c) More than eleven.
(d) More than nine.

5. According to one naval architect, what might have helped the Essex withstand the whale's attack?
(a) Nothing could have helped it.
(b) If the boat was new.
(c) If the boat was smaller.
(d) If the boat was bigger.

Short Answer Questions

1. How much water is each man given per day as the crew attempts to make it to land in Chapter 7?

2. In 1810, how many women over the age of twenty- three are widowed?

3. How long does the crew of the Essex remain by the wrecked ship?

4. How many masts does the Essex have as it sets sail in Chapter 2?

5. What is Nickerson's response to the captain's approach in introducing himself to the crew?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the first difficulties that the Essex experiences at the end of Chapter 2?

2. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

3. What setbacks are the three boats having as they approach the Society Islands at the end of Chapter 7?

4. How does the crew initially respond to the sinking of the Essex?

5. Why does the crew decide not to wait for another whale ship in the Offshore Ground?

6. What well known island is part of the Society Islands and why should the crew have been aware of it?

7. What happens when the first whale of the trip is sighted?

8. How are the three whale boats divided and stocked for the trip at the end of Chapter 6?

9. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

10. How does the crew of the Essex decide to sail towards South America instead of the Society Islands?

(see the answer keys)

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