In the Heart of the Sea | Study Guide

Nathaniel Philbrick

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In the Heart of the Sea | Chapter Summaries


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface The year is 1821. For over a century, the global whale oil business has been centered in the tiny island of Nantucket, j... Read More
Chapter 1 Thomas Nickerson is 14 when he steps onto the 87-foot Essex, a moment he calls "the most pleasing moment of [his] life."... Read More
Chapter 2 Twenty-eight-year old George Pollard Jr. is a first-time captain. The Essex, which leaves on August 12, has three masts,... Read More
Chapter 3 The crew fails to find additional boats for sale in the Azores, so they head toward Cape Verde Islands, where they pick ... Read More
Chapter 4 The trip around Cape Horn at the tip of South America could be a difficult trip, and it takes the Essex a month, braving... Read More
Chapter 5 By November 16, 1820, the Essex is more than a thousand miles west of the Galapagos, following the equator through the l... Read More
Chapter 6 The weary men spend a rough first night, setting watches to avoid jagged debris that could poke a hole in the fragile wh... Read More
Chapter 7 Early in the voyage, the boats are carrying twice their usual weight, and they don't have rudders for steering. Each boa... Read More
Chapter 8 Owen Chase maintains strict discipline in food rationing. He transfers the bread to his sea chest so he can keep close w... Read More
Chapter 9 The Essex crew has traveled about 1,500 nautical miles when they spot land. Captain George Pollard Jr. and Owen Chase th... Read More
Chapter 10 The Essex crew now uses dead reckoning—a type of rudimentary navigation—to determine their longitude, so they are no lon... Read More
Chapter 11 On January 20, 1821, Captain George Pollard Jr. and Obed Hendricks are coming to the end of their provisions, and then L... Read More
Chapter 12 On January 28, 1821, the breeze finally begins blowing Owen Chase's boat east, but the men have lost almost all hope. Ch... Read More
Chapter 13 A civil war is going on in Chili when the Indian arrives in Valparaiso. Owen Chase also does not hide that his crew was ... Read More
Chapter 14 In February 1823, the Two Brothers and the Martha are sailing west together toward new whaling ground when they run into... Read More
Epilogue The epilogue tells the story of how a sperm whale washes up on the beach in Nantucket at the end of 1997. The whale is b... Read More
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