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 characteristics does Ishmael assign to Starbuck, the chief mate?

2. How does Ishmael foreshadow Starbuck's behavior throughout the novel?

3. Why does Ahab insist that the captain of the Jeroboam come aboard the Pequod?

4. When the whale is harpooned, what action do the harpooner and the chief mate take?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Describe how Ishmael becomes uneasy about Captain Ahab.

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

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

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

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

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

9. What ominous encounter do Ishmael and Queequeg have after they have signed onto the Pequod?

10. Explain the startling thing that Ishmael learns about his friend, Queequeg.

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 the mystery of the sea. Begin with the mysterious things about the sea that Melville presents in the novel. Move into the present where there are still many things we do not know about the sea. Explain why the sea is so difficult to understand including its size, its atmospheric pressure, and its eco-systems.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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