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 does Ishmael say whale ship crew members often do with the bones of whales?

2. What do Queequeg and Ishmael do before they sleep?

3. How does Queequeg manage to sign on with the Pequod after first being turned down?

4. What was Father Mapple in his youth?

5. What does Ahab want to hunt down and kill?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe a Sperm Whale.

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

3. Describe the ropes that whaling ships use.

4. In what way does the story of Steelkit mirror the New Testament?

5. What is Charity's job aboard the ship?

6. How does Ahab express his mission on this trip of the Pequod?

7. Why is Father Mapple so respected by the whaling community?

8. How does Ishmael show the further mental deterioration of Ahab?

9. Explain how Stubb uses his sense of humor to trick a French whaling ship into leaving a dead whale.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Look at the structure of the novel.

1) How does Melville use character and dialogue to drive the narrative.

2) Discuss elements of the narrative structure: Exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the novel's themes?

3) Aside from the main character, examine the way Melville uses the other characters in the story. When does he introduce and take them away from the story? What effect does it have on the story?

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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