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

2. How is Pollard informed to set sail?

3. What do Pollard and Daniel Russell, the captain of the Aurora, discuss in Chapter 4?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the first difficulties that the Essex experiences at the end of Chapter 2?

2. As stated in the Preface, when, where, and why are sperm whales hunted?

3. What setbacks are the three boats having as they approach the Society Islands at the end of Chapter 7?

4. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

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

7. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

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

9. How does Philbrick describe Pollard and his experience in Chapter 2?

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

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 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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