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. Why does Pollard choose the Society Islands as the crew's destination?

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

4. What Ecuadorian city does the Essex stop at during September in Chapter 4?

5. In 1810, how many women over the age of twenty- three are widowed?

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

3. How is the Essex described in Chapter 1?

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

5. What happens when the Essex meets the Aurora?

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

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

8. What does the Dauphin find in the Preface?

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

10. What well known island is part of the Society Islands and why should the crew have been aware of it?

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

Philbrick depicts the irony of the crew's situation when they resort to what they were initially trying to avoid.

1) Explain the events that cause the crew to resort to cannibalism.

2) Describe the way murder is considered in Pollard's boat and the results of the lots that are drawn.

3) Analyze the irony of the crew's options and their reasons for sailing towards South America.

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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