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. What is the first thing that the captain and crew of the Dauphin notice when they see the smaller boat?

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

3. How are sailors paid?

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

5. Which one of the Galapagos Islands is the crew of the Essex on when they discover a leak in the ship?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What is Chase's initial opinion about staying on the island in Chapter 9?

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

5. What happens when the Essex meets the Aurora?

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

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

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

9. What does the exhibit for the Essex at the Whaling Museum feature?

10. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

After the crew kills its first whale, Philbrick takes the reader step by step through the process of "trying out" a whale.

1) Explain the procedure for gutting a whale, retrieving oil, and which parts are used.

2) Describe how oil and other products are made from the insides of a whale.

3) Analyze the techniques that Philbrick uses in describing the process and the reasons for them.

Essay Topic 2

Nature is a main element of the book and the Essex's voyage. Explain three examples of the effects that nature has on the story and the trip. Include an analysis of how the crew responds to nature and how their responses also have an effect on the book's themes.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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