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 many people live in Nantucket in 1819?

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

3. How long is it in between whale sightings in Chapter 3?

4. How many miles west of the Galapagos is the Essex on November 2, 1820?

5. What surprises Nickerson about Chase while they are on the sea?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Chase's boat deal with a shark attack?

2. What well known island is part of the Society Islands and why should the crew have been aware of it?

3. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

4. What leads to the rescue of Chase's boat?

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

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

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

8. How do the men confuse the name of the island they have found in Chapter 9?

9. How does Pollard's whaling career end, and how is he remembered?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Philbrick chooses to begin the story with the Dauphin's rescue of Pollard's boat. Use the book as a reference to discuss the reasons why he selects this particular event as the starting point. Also, include a description of the rescue and an analysis of the other facts about the upcoming tragedy that Philbrick discloses in the Preface.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Describe the way that Philbrick conveys the desperation of the men as they get farther away from the sunken ship. Provide multiple examples of how he uses literature in order to emphasize the severity of their situation and their inclination to surrender. Also, analyze the way that Philbrick simultaneously engages the reader along the way with signs of hope and optimism.

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