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. On which country's coast is the Dauphin traveling when it spots the smaller boat?

2. When did English settlers begin arriving in Nantucket?

3. How long does it take the whale to revive after the collision before preparing to ram the boat again?

4. What discovery does the crew make on November 26?

5. Which fictional novel was inspired by the sinking of the Essex?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

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

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

5. How does Philbrick describe Pollard and his experience in Chapter 2?

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

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

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

9. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In the Preface, a general background of whaling is provided by Philbrick.

1) Describe the purpose of the Preface and the literary reasons for the information it includes.

2) Explain why sailors from Nantucket hunted whales and how the whales are typically killed.

3) Analyze the sperm whales as they are presented in the Preface along with why they are specifically targeted by whalers.

Essay Topic 3

Philbrick depicts the irony of the crew's situation when they resort to what they were initially trying to avoid.

1) Explain the events that cause the crew to resort to cannibalism.

2) Describe the way murder is considered in Pollard's boat and the results of the lots that are drawn.

3) Analyze the irony of the crew's options and their reasons for sailing towards South America.

(see the answer keys)

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