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. According to one naval architect, what might have helped the Essex withstand the whale's attack?

2. In what direction does the wind shift, allowing the boats to sail towards Peru?

3. What do the men do in order to prevent water from splashing over the edges of the remaining boats?

4. What is the name of the newspaper that includes the article about the Marquesas before the ship sets sail from Nantucket?

5. What type of whale attacks Pollard's boat in Chapter 7?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Pollard's boat respond to being attacked by a whale in Chapter 7?

4. How is Nantucket described in Chapter 1?

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

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

7. What modifications are made to the whale boats in the beginning of Chapter 6?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

After the crew kills its first whale, Philbrick takes the reader step by step through the process of "trying out" a whale.

1) Explain the procedure for gutting a whale, retrieving oil, and which parts are used.

2) Describe how oil and other products are made from the insides of a whale.

3) Analyze the techniques that Philbrick uses in describing the process and the reasons for them.

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

Henderson Island is a key point in the crew's effort to make it to South America.

1) Explain what leads the crew to Henderson Island and why they are confused about the island's identity.

2) Describe the crew's time on the island and the important things that they discover there.

3) Analyze the decision made by three crew members to remain of the island in comparison to the decision made by the majority of the crew to leave.

(see the answer keys)

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