In the Heart of the Sea | Study Guide

Nathaniel Philbrick

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Course Hero, "In the Heart of the Sea Study Guide," December 14, 2017, accessed June 19, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/In-the-Heart-of-the-Sea/.

In the Heart of the Sea | Key Figures

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Key Figure Description
Captain George Pollard Jr. Captain George Pollard Jr., also called Pollard or Captain Pollard, is the captain of the ill-fated Essex, his first command. Read More
Owen Chase Owen Chase if the first mate of the Essex and plays a major role in the fateful decisions Captain George Pollard Jr. makes. Later Chase pens an account of the shipwreck and its aftermath. Read More
Matthew Joy Mathew Joy is the second mate on the Essex. He is sickly and is the first to die of starvation and dehydration. Read More
Thomas Nickerson Thomas Nickerson is a 14-year-old orphan who goes to sea for the first time, as a cabin boy on the Essex. When he is past 70 he writes his own account of the Essex disaster. Read More
Captain William Bligh Captain William Bligh, the victim of a mutiny, famously captained a small boat over open sea, traveling some 3,600 miles to Timor and delivering all but one of his crew to safety.
William Bond William Bond is a black sailor who serves as steward on the Essex. He is lost in the whaleboat under the command of Obed Hendricks. He disappears with Hendricks and Joseph West.
Thomas Chappel Thomas Chappel is Matthew Joy's boatsteerer and an Englishman who chooses to stay behind on Henderson Island rather than complete the journey with the Essex crew. He also burns down Charles Island in the Galapagos.
Peggy Chase Peggy Chase is the first wife of Owen Chase.
William Henry Chase William Henry Chase, Owen Chase's son, meets Herman Melville in 1840 aboard the New Bedford whaleship Acushnet and gives Melville a copy of Owen Chase's memoir.
Enoch Cloud Enoch Cloud is a "green hand," who writes about the horror of whale killing in his journal.
Nancy Bunker Coffin Nancy Bunker Coffin is the mother of Owen Coffin and aunt of Captain George Pollard Jr. She entrusts her son to Pollard's care and never recovers after learning of her son's terrible fate at sea.
Owen Coffin Owen Coffin is a teenage sailor and Captain George Pollard Jr.'s cousin, traveling in his whaleboat after the Essex sinks. Coffin is chosen by lot to be shot and killed for food.
Captain William Coffin Captain William Coffin, Nantucketer and commander of the whaleship Eagle, takes Owen Chase, Thomas Nickerson, Benjamin Lawrence, and Charles Ramsdell back to Nantucket from Valparaiso.
William Coffin Jr. William Coffin Jr. likely helps Owen Chase write his memoir of the Essex disaster.
Captain Zimri Coffin Captain Zimri Coffin of the Dauphin rescues Captain George Pollard Jr. and sailor Charles Ramsdell.
Isaac Cole Isaac Cole, a white off-islander on Chase Owen's whaleboat after the Essex sinks, goes mad from dehydration, dies, and is buried at sea.
William Comstock William Comstock is an author who wrote about Nantucket whaling and was critical about the island's ship owners.
Captain William Crozier Captain William Crozier is the captain of the English ship, the Indian, which rescues Owen Chase, Benjamin Lawrence, and Thomas Nickerson on February 18, 1821.
Charles Darwin Charles Darwin is an English naturalist and biologist who visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and used what he learned there about finches to help him formulate his theory of evolution.
Henry De Witt Henry De Witt is an African American sailor on the Essex, who deserts in Atacames, Ecuador.
Gideon Folger Gideon Folger is the patriarch of Gideon Folger and Sons, principal owners of the Essex.
Mayhew Folger Mayhew Folger, a sealing captain from Nantucket, stumbled upon Pitcairn Island in 1808. He discovered what became of the mutineers on the Bounty—the group of men who overthrew Captain William Bligh in 1789 and forced him and 18 of his loyal men into a small boat. Many of the mutineers had found their way to Pitcairn Island and remained there.
Obed Hendricks Obed Hendricks is Captain George Pollard Jr.'s boatsteerer and a Nantucketer. He is put in charge of the whaleboat supervised by Matthew Joy after Joy dies. He is separated from the other two boats and never heard from again, along with Joseph West and William Bond.
Captain Hussey Captain Hussey is the first whaler to kill a sperm whale off Nantucket in 1712.
Captain Shubael Hussey Captain Shubael Hussey of the whaleship Lucy Adams goes turkey hunting with Captain George Pollard Jr. when they are both in Atacames, a village in Ecuador.
Benjamin Lawrence Benjamin Lawrence is Owen Chase's boatsteerer and a Nantucketer who survives the voyage in Chase's boat.
Obed Macy Obed Macy is the self-appointed historian of the island of Nantucket.
Paul Macy Paul Macy is a shareholder in the Essex and a prominent community member.
William H. McGuffey William H. McGuffey is the author of a series of readers used widely in American schools in the 19th century. The Eclectic Fourth Reader made the Essex story widely known.
Herman Melville Herman Melville was a writer of the American romantic period and most famous for his tale of Captain Ahab and the white whale in Moby-Dick, considered by some to be the greatest American novel ever written.
Captain Aaron Paddock Aaron Paddock is the captain of the ship Diana. He writes down Captain George Pollard Jr.'s story after they dine together the evening Pollard is rescued.
Ichabod Paddock Ichabod Paddock is a Cape Codder who teaches the people of Nantucket how to kill whales.
William Penn William Penn is an English Quaker who founded Philadelphia in 1682.
Richard Peterson Richard Peterson is an elderly African American sailor and the first man to die on Owen Chase's boat.
Mary Riddell Pollard Mary Riddell Pollard is the wife of Captain George Pollard Jr.
Charles Ramsdell Charles Ramsdell is a teenage sailor from Nantucket who survives the ordeal in Captain George Pollard Jr.'s boat.
Captain Thomas Raine Captain Thomas Raine rescues Thomas Chappel, Seth Weeks, and William Wright from Henderson Island.
Barzillai Ray Barzillai Ray is a teenage sailor from Nantucket and the last man to die and be eaten on Captain George Pollard Jr.'s boat.
Samuel Reed Samuel Reed is an African American sailor and the fourth black sailor to die and be eaten by the men under Captain George Pollard Jr.'s charge.
Daniel Russell Daniel Russell, the former captain of the Essex and the current captain of the new ship the Aurora, meets up with the Essex crew in May 1820 off the coast of Peru. The Essex crew receives newspapers and mail from Nantucket during this time.
Sir Ernest Shackleton Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Antarctic explorer, delivered all of his men to safety after the harrowing shipwreck of the Endurance and a herculean feat of command and rescue over a period of almost two years.
Isaiah Sheppard Isaiah Sheppard is the third African American sailor to die and be eaten by the remaining men in Hendricks's and Pollard's boats.
Charles Shorter Charles Shorter is the second African American sailor to die in the boat supervised by Obed Hendricks, and he is the first corpse to be eaten by the men in Hendricks's and Pollard's boats.
Mary Coffin Starbuck Mary Coffin Starbuck is a powerful woman on Nantucket who converts to Quakerism, after which many of the islanders follow suit.
Lawson Thomas Lawson Thomas is the first African American sailor to die in the boat supervised by Obed Hendricks, and he is the first corpse to be eaten by all the men in Hendricks' and Pollard's boats.
Seth Weeks Seth Weeks is a white teenage sailor from Cape Cod who chooses to stay on Henderson Island rather than complete the voyage with the Essex crew.
Joseph West Joseph West is a white off-islander who rides in Matthew Joy's boat (later put in the charge of Obed Hendricks) and disappears with Hendricks and William Bond.
William Wright William Wright is a white teenage sailor from Cape Cod who chooses to stay on Henderson Island rather than complete the voyage with the Essex crew.
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