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. If the Essex returns with sufficient product, how much money is Thomas Nickerson expecting to make from the trip?

2. Why does Pollard think that backtracking to the Galapagos Islands is impossible in Chapter 6?

3. When the men are close enough to attack the whale, what is used in order to pierce its vital organs?

4. What does the Aurora bring for the crew of the Essex?

5. How far away are the Marquesas from where the crew is in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is done to the Essex in order to prepare it for the trip?

2. How does Pollard's boat respond to being attacked by a whale in Chapter 7?

3. What happens when the Essex tries to leave Nantucket?

4. As explained in Chapter 2, what route does a Nantucket whale ship normally take?

5. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

7. How do two whales escape from Chase's boat in the beginning of Chapter 5?

8. As stated in the Preface, when, where, and why are sperm whales hunted?

9. What troubles is the Essex having at Cape Horn and off the coast of Chile?

10. What is the process for "trying out" a whale?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Philbrick chooses to begin the story with the Dauphin's rescue of Pollard's boat. Use the book as a reference to discuss the reasons why he selects this particular event as the starting point. Also, include a description of the rescue and an analysis of the other facts about the upcoming tragedy that Philbrick discloses in the Preface.

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 whale's attack on the Essex is the turning point of the story and the ship's voyage.

1) Describe the behavior and actions of the whale when it is first sighted along with why they are considered strange.

2) Explain how the whale attacks the ship and the response of the crew members during the attack.

3) Discuss why Philbrick states in the Preface that the whale's attack on the Essex is only the beginning of the story.

(see the answer keys)

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