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 is the crew hoping for as they enter the Offshore Grounds?

2. What is Nickerson's response to the captain's approach in introducing himself to the crew?

3. How many miles does it take the crew to set and trim the sails of the Essex?

4. Why does Chase hesitate to attack the giant whale when it resurfaces on the starboard after the collision?

5. Which of the following is not included in the list of troubles that the bad weather causes for the Essex in Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is a whale killed by sailors?

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

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

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

6. What troubles is the Essex having at Cape Horn and off the coast of Chile?

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

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

9. As explained in Chapter 2, what route does a Nantucket whale ship normally take?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Before the Essex leaves Nantucket, a detailed account of its age, history, and condition is provided.

1) Explain the modifications and repairs that are done to the Essex before it leaves.

2) Describe the history of the ship, including its background, condition, and why it is considered to be lucky.

3) Analyze the connections between the condition of the Essex and its sinking.

4) Analyze Philbrick's style of writing in delivering the information about the Essex.

Essay Topic 2

Herman Melville is inspired by the Essex to write one of the most well known books in literature.

1) Explain how Melville first learns of the Essex's voyage.

2) Describe Melville's experiences in whaling and how they contribute to his book.

3) Analyze the connection of the Essex to Moby Dick along with the similarities and differences in the two epic stories.

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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