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. Days into the journey, what makes Ishmael uneasy?

2. What is the theme of MOBY DICK?

3. What strange thing does Ahab do looking at the head of the captured whale?

4. What does Ahab question the men about?

5. To what does Ishmael attribute the hieroglyphic-like markings on the whale skin?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe how Ishmael becomes uneasy about Captain Ahab.

2. Describe the behavior of the mates dining in the captain's cabin as they torment the cook who serves their meal.

3. What is the amusing account of Queequeg and the wheelbarrow?

4. Explain the mistaken identity that causes Ahab to order lowering of the boats.

5. What potential serious problem does Ahab ignore in order to talk to the captain of another whaling ship?

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

7. How complicated is the process of harvesting the whale blubber?

8. What does Ishmael think about paintings and drawings of whales?

9. At what point does Ishmael go into a discussion about whales in general.

10. Explain the function of the "monkey" on board a whaling ship.

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 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.

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on Ishmael as the narrator of MOBY DICK. Explain what makes Ishmael a good choice as narrator in terms of his education and background. Why does Ishmael relate better to the general reader than Starbuck or Flask might have? Why is it necessary to the story that Ishmael survive the destruction of the Pequod?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on respect. Use the example of Starbuck who disagrees with Ahab's vendetta against a whale but always follows orders, even when he thinks they are wrong. Define why respect for the captain and the crew is necessary to maintain order on a ship.

(see the answer keys)

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