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. What is Ishmael's profession before signing on the whaling ship?

2. What do Peleg and Bildad do once the Pequod is in the Atlantic Ocean?

3. What is Ahab aware of while he stands on the deck of the Pequod?

4. How do Ishmael and Queequeg transport their baggage to the boat bound for Nantucket?

5. What does Queequeg use to reach his food?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Queequeg determine which of them will select the whaling ship they take for their whaling adventure?

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

5. Explain the importance of Chapters 45 and 46 in understanding the enemy Captain Ahab is up against.

6. How does the first day of whaling affect Ishmael?

7. What does Ahab do to disturb the crew during the night?

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

9. Detail the problems of holding a whale overnight tied to the side of the ship.

10. How do Starbuck and Stubb react to Ahab's stated mission?

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 understanding other cultures. Begin with Ishmael's initial fear of Queequeg. Note how Queequeg did not seem so strange after Ishmael sees many other ethnic people on the streets of New Bedford. Discuss how Queequeg begins to see Ishmael as his brother. Finish with how religious prejudice like Bildad's tends to resist inter-cultural understanding.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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