In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Test | Final 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. How common was cannibalism among sailors that are shipwrecked during the time the book takes place?

2. What type of fish surround Chase's boat in Chapter 8?

3. What year is it when Chapter 12 begins?

4. After realizing they are too far south to reach Easter Island, how far away is the next group of islands?

5. On what night do Pollard's boat and Hendricks' boat become separated?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the crew concerned about as it sees land in the beginning of Chapter 9?

2. What difficulties is Chase's boat having in Chapter 11?

3. How does Chase prevent the crew from stealing food in Chapter 8?

4. How has has the town of Nantucket changed since the nineteenth century?

5. How does Pollard's whaling career end, and how is he remembered?

6. How is Pollard's boat rescued?

7. What idea does Pollard have for sailing out of the calm winds in Chapter 8?

8. What is Chase's initial opinion about staying on the island in Chapter 9?

9. What happens to Hendricks' boat?

10. How does Lawrence repair the leak in Chase's boat?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Describe the way that Philbrick conveys the desperation of the men as they get farther away from the sunken ship. Provide multiple examples of how he uses literature in order to emphasize the severity of their situation and their inclination to surrender. Also, analyze the way that Philbrick simultaneously engages the reader along the way with signs of hope and optimism.

Essay Topic 3

Captain Pollard's decision making abilities is the subject of Philbrick's criticism in the book.

1) Describe in detail three decisions that Pollard makes during the Essex's whaling trip as well as after it sinks and how those decisions are influenced.

2) Explain the role that Pollard's decisions have in the outcome of the trip and the survival of the crew.

3) Analyze Philbrick's position on Pollard's ability to make decisions and overrule his crew.

4) Compare the way Pollard handles a complaint from the crew with the other situations he must deal with.

(see the answer keys)

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