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 part of the whale is the most valuable to the whalers?

2. What story about a whale attack compares to the history of the Titanic?

3. To what does Ishmael compare a painting done from observing a stranded whale?

4. What does Ishmael say is the saddest thing about any man, no matter how bad he is?

5. What insane crew member of the Jeroboam claims to be the Angel Gabriel?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does Ishmael inform the reader about the process of whale hunting?

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

6. Why is the story of Radney and Steelkilt important to the story?

7. Describe the curious rumor about other fish and Moby Dick.

8. What behavior of whales works to the advantage of whaling ships looking for them?

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

10. What is the function of Charity, Bildad's sister, in the preparations for the Pequod's journey?

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 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 2

Write an essay of at least two typed, double-spaced pages on the possible homoerotic overtones in the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael. Express your opinion as to how you view this relationship. Take into consideration the culture from which Queequeg comes. Do a quick survey of Melville's life to justify your conclusion.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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