Moby-Dick Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. Why do people not comprehend the dangers of whale hunting?

2. At the Try Pots Inn in Nantucket, what is the staple menu?

3. After the first whaling experience, what does Ishmael decide to do?

4. Why does the rumor start that Moby Dick is stalking the Pequod?

5. What is the conversation like at breakfast in the Spouter Inn?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the surprise the men of the Pequod get when they spot their first whale and begin to lower the boats?

2. What comparison does Ishmael make to a person's soul in Chapter 23?

3. What is so interesting about the perceptions of the Spanish doubloon nailed to the mast?

4. What conundrum does Ishmael pose about the whale's biological system?

5. How has the crew's mood changed aboard the Pequod?

6. What does Ahab think about when he sees the carpenter in this chapter turning the coffin into a life buoy?

7. Under what circumstances do Peleg and Bildad leave the Pequod?

8. Describe how Ishmael becomes uneasy about Captain Ahab.

9. How does Ahab react to the leaking oil in Chapter 109?

10. Why does Ahab change his attitude toward the leaking casks of whale oil?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on how literature helps understand ages past. Use the sights, sounds, and customs of 19th century America as written about in the novel to describe what life was like then. Note in your essay the things like whale oil for lighting that are no longer necessary. Write your opinion about such things as room sharing at an inn and the communal meals in the dining room. Explain why you would or would not like to have lived during those times.

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on the literary use of personification. Begin with how Ahab assigns human characteristics to Moby Dick, believing that the whale is a mortal enemy, conscious of a vendetta against him. Then go to children's stories where animal characters think and talk like humans. Discuss personification as a device to explain relationships between humans and animals.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on why we know so much more about whales now than Melville knew. Discuss the modern technology that allows whales to be observed in their natural underwater habitat. Mention modern photography that shows the whale as it is and not as an artist imagines it.

(see the answer keys)

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