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 are sailors paid?

2. When does the Essex sail towards the Galapagos Islands in Chapter 4?

3. Whose boat had the least amount of people in it as the crew divides for its trip in Chapter 6?

4. When does the loading of the Essex begin?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. How do two whales escape from Chase's boat in the beginning of Chapter 5?

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

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

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

9. How is a whale killed by sailors?

10. How does the crew of the Essex deal with the second whale sighted in Chapter 3, and what is a Nantucket sleigh ride?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Foreshadowing is a major part of the first half of the book. Provide an analysis of three examples of foreshadowing, when they occur, and the events that they are signaling.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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