Day 1

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Lesson Plan

Discussion of Thought Questions

  1. 1

    Is it a paradox that the whalemen were primarily Quakers? Why or why not?

    Students who answer that it is a paradox might say that the paradox comes from a defining value of Quakers—a devotion to pacifism. Those who say that it’s not a paradox may point out that it seems to have been interpreted as pacifism towards humans and detail the reasons that the author believes Quakerism actually allowed Nantucket to be a successful whaling port, such as a rejection of showy wealth leading the islanders to reinvest their money into the industry.

  2. 2

    Why were the Nantucketers so superstitious? How did their location contribute to this culture of superstition?


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