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. After being damaged in the storm, who encourages Pollard to continue with the trip instead of returning to Nantucket?

2. How long are the shifts that each man serves on watching the decks during the evenings in Chapter 2?

3. Out of twenty men who witnessed the sinking of the Essex, how many total men survived?

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

5. Who persuades Pollard to sail to Chile or Peru instead of the Society Islands?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

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

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

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

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

9. What is the main concern of the boats during the first few days after the sinking of the Essex?

10. What are some of the facts that Philbrick discloses about the sinking of the Essex in the Preface?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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