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. What allows a sperm whale the ability to survive a head on collision with a boat?

2. When did ships from Nantucket first start rounding Cape Horn?

3. Which provisions does the crew of the Essex plan to purchase at the Azores?

4. What causes Chase's boat to get a hole in it as they approach another whale on November 20?

5. What is the crew hoping for as they enter the Offshore Grounds?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

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

3. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyze three possible theories about why the whale might have attacked the Essex. Use the book to reference the sources of these theories and the reasons behind them. Also, explain which one you think is the most logical and why.

Essay Topic 2

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 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.

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