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

3. How far away from the first whale sighted do the men position themselves in the boats?

4. How much water is each man given per day as the crew attempts to make it to land in Chapter 7?

5. How much can sperm whales weigh?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

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

3. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

5. How successful is the Essex off the coast of Peru?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Before the Essex leaves Nantucket, a detailed account of its age, history, and condition is provided.

1) Explain the modifications and repairs that are done to the Essex before it leaves.

2) Describe the history of the ship, including its background, condition, and why it is considered to be lucky.

3) Analyze the connections between the condition of the Essex and its sinking.

4) Analyze Philbrick's style of writing in delivering the information about the Essex.

Essay Topic 2

Captain Pollard's decision making abilities is the subject of Philbrick's criticism in the book.

1) Describe in detail three decisions that Pollard makes during the Essex's whaling trip as well as after it sinks and how those decisions are influenced.

2) Explain the role that Pollard's decisions have in the outcome of the trip and the survival of the crew.

3) Analyze Philbrick's position on Pollard's ability to make decisions and overrule his crew.

4) Compare the way Pollard handles a complaint from the crew with the other situations he must deal with.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the lives of Pollard and Chase, their experiences before and after sailing on the Essex, their leadership styles, and how they are remembered.

(see the answer keys)

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