“A Presentation of Whales” by Barry Lopez
Directions: On a separate sheet of paper, complete the following items. Use complete sentences
for all responses, incorporating the question in to the answer.
1. Go back to the essay and review page 435. At the bottom of the first column, Lopez provides
many interesting facts about the Physeter catodon: sperm whales. Identify at least five key
features of these whales. (5 points)
2. After you complete a first reading of this writing, explain your initial reactions to this short
essay: use at least two complete sentences as you explain your response. For example,
consider whether you were stunned, appalled, sad, angry, mystified, etc.
3. On page 439, Lopez states the following:
“The fact that almost anything learned was likely to be valuable was meager consolation to
scientists hurt by charges that they were cold and brutal people, irreverently jerking fetuses
from the dead. Among these scientists were people who sat alone in silence, who departed in
anger, and who broke down and cried.”
Here, the scene is one of uncontrollable outcomes. As Lopez describes this scene, how would
you explain what he is trying to convey in this passage? (7 points)
4. Creative Writing Response
Near the end of his report, Lopez writes, “As far as I know, no novelist, no historian, no moral
philosopher, no scholar of Melville, no rabbi, no painter, no theologian had been on the beach.”
Suppose that one of those people had been on the beach. What might he or she have thought?
How might he or she have responded? Write a response to the events on the beach from the
viewpoint of one of these types of people named by Lopez. In other words, place yourself on
the beach as one of the types of individuals mentioned above. Then, in that character’s voice or
point of view respond to the items above. You are not responding as a sophomore at Stadium
High School. AGAIN, AS YOU RESPOND, KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE THE TYPE
OF PERSON MENTIONED ABOVE: Philosopher, scholar, rabbi, painter, theologian. (15
Your response needs to be between 5 – 7 sentences in length (minimum) in order to receive
full credit for this answer.