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

Nathaniel Philbrick
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How many men are in the small boat when it is first mentioned in the preface?

2. When does the Essex sail towards the Galapagos Islands in Chapter 4?

3. What month is it when the island of St. Mary's is sighted off the coast of Chile in Chapter 4?

4. Which of the following is not taken by the crew as the Essex sinks in Chapter 5?

5. How long are the shifts that each man serves on watching the decks during the evenings in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. How has has the town of Nantucket changed since the nineteenth century?

2. How do the men confuse the name of the island they have found in Chapter 9?

3. What is the crew concerned about as it sees land in the beginning of Chapter 9?

4. What complaint does the crew bring to Pollard at the end of Chapter 3, and how does he handle it?

5. What happens to Chase at the end of his life?

6. How are Wright, Weeks, and Chappel rescued from Henderson Island?

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

8. How does Chase prevent the crew from stealing food in Chapter 8?

9. How does Chase choose the events to include in a book about the Essex?

10. What modifications are made to the whale boats in the beginning of Chapter 6?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Herman Melville is inspired by the Essex to write one of the most well known books in literature.

1) Explain how Melville first learns of the Essex's voyage.

2) Describe Melville's experiences in whaling and how they contribute to his book.

3) Analyze the connection of the Essex to Moby Dick along with the similarities and differences in the two epic stories.

Essay Topic 2

Upon their return to Nantucket, Pollard, Chase, and Nickerson decide to give their accounts of the tragedy.

1) Analyze all three accounts, including the similarities and differences between them.

2) Compare the facts of the trip that Philbrick provides in the book with Chase's version.

3) Describe Pollard's response to the existing stories and how his version is received.

Essay Topic 3

The Whaling Museum features an exhibit for the Essex. Discuss how the sinking of the Essex is initially regarded by the town, the reasons why, and the way that the ship is now remembered. In addition, provide an analysis of how the sperm whales have changed as a result of the whaling that took place during the nineteenth century.

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