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. Why does Chase hesitate to attack the giant whale when it resurfaces on the starboard after the collision?

2. How do the men on Pollard's boat respond to the whale's attack?

3. When does the loading of the Essex begin?

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

5. What shape are the sails of the Essex?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is unusual about the sperm whale that surfaces unexpectedly in Chapter 5?

3. How is the Essex attacked by the whale and what happens to the ship as a result?

4. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

5. How is Nantucket described in Chapter 1?

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

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

8. What is used to determine the wages of sailors that participate in whaling trips, and how will Nickerson be paid?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss three setbacks that the crew of the Essex face while attempting to sail towards South America after the ship sinks. Include an analysis of the effects that the setbacks have on the crew's plan, how the crew chooses to approach them, and the actions that they take as a result.

Essay Topic 2

Chronicle the island town of Nantucket from the nineteenth century to the time that the book was written. Provide an explanation of what the town was like when the Essex set sail and the effects that whaling had on the community. Then, describe how and why Nantucket has changed throughout the years and its present state.

Essay Topic 3

Describe the first two encounters with a whale that the crew of the Essex has, including a detailed description of the Nantucket sleigh ride. Also, provide an explanation of why this is a significant point in the story and what it indicates for the different members of the crew.

(see the answer keys)

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