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 long does it take the crew of the Essex to kill eleven whales in Chapter 4?

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

3. How long is the huge whale that appears off the port bow in Chapter 5?

4. After seventeen days in the boats, how far have the men sailed at the end of Chapter 7?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the crew decide not to wait for another whale ship in the Offshore Ground?

2. How are the three whale boats divided and stocked for the trip at the end of Chapter 6?

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

4. What events take place on Hood Island at the end of Chapter 4?

5. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

6. How is Nantucket described in Chapter 1?

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

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

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

10. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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