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. What shape are the sails of the Essex?

3. Before his first whale kill, how many large mammals did Nickerson kill on Nantucket?

4. How long do the officers think it will take the crew to reach either Chile or Peru?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the Preface, a general background of whaling is provided by Philbrick.

1) Describe the purpose of the Preface and the literary reasons for the information it includes.

2) Explain why sailors from Nantucket hunted whales and how the whales are typically killed.

3) Analyze the sperm whales as they are presented in the Preface along with why they are specifically targeted by whalers.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

The Whaling Museum features an exhibit for the Essex. Discuss how the sinking of the Essex is initially regarded by the town, the reasons why, and the way that the ship is now remembered. In addition, provide an analysis of how the sperm whales have changed as a result of the whaling that took place during the nineteenth century.

(see the answer keys)

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