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Melville does explore the idea that there is some perversity in the relationship between the two men, at least in the estimation of Ishmael, who worries that he is engaging in a pagan, idolatrous activity. Melville does indicate a certain homoerotic element to the relationship between the two, even comparing the two men sleeping together to a husband and wife.

The anxiety that Ishmael feels concerning whether or not he is engaging in some sinful activity with Queequeg definitely lends to this interpretation as well. Yet Ishmael's musing on pagan activity demonstrate that he and the novel are moving past the strict Christian spiritualism that has dominated the novel and approaching a different religious interpretation.

Ishmael, and by extension Melville, are questioning the idea of the will of God beyond strictly Christian tenets. Chapter 11 — Nightgown : Queequeg and Ishmael lie in bed, napping at short intervals and often chatting. Upon opening his eyes, Ishmael finds that his strong repugnance to Queequeg smoking in bed begins to fade, for he now likes nothing better to have him smoking because he seems to full of serene household joy.

Analysis: Melville continues to show the intense bond between Queequeg and Ishmael in this chapter, further continuing the analogy of marriage to demonstrate how Ishmael has become progressively more tolerant toward Queequeg. This also suggests that Ishmael longs for a domestic life that he lacks as sailor, appreciating the intimacy that he shares with Queequeg as a replacement for a conventional household life. Chapter 12 — Biographical : Queequeg is a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. A Sag Harbor ship visited Queequeg's father's bay, and there he sought passage to Christian lands.

The captain threatened to throw Queequeg overboard, and suspended a cutlass over his naked wrists, but Queequeg did not relent. He was put among the sailors, but did not mind. He was motivated by a profound desire to learn among the Christians. Ishmael wonders why Queequeg did not propose going home and having a coronation, but he is fearful that Christians had unfitted him for ascending the undefiled throne of thirty pagan kings before him.

A harpoon had taken the place of a scepter for Queequeg. Queequeg intends to go to sea again in his old vocation. They resolve to go to Nantucket together. Analysis: Melville explores the distinction between savage and civilized through the biographical details concerning Queequeg, whose history suggests greater culture and civility than the Europeans with whom he comes in contact.

While the sailors believe Queequeg to be a savage, he instead proves to be a literal nobleman whose behavior is highly honorable in contrast to their brutality. The irony of Queequeg's tale is that, having traveled to America and lived among the supposedly civilized, he has in fact become defiled and unfit for his royal position; this calls into questions definitions of savagery and civilization, for Queequeg presumably becomes a savage to his people as he adopts more European customs.

Chapter 13 — Wheelbarrow : The boarders seem amused by the sudden friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg. They borrow a wheelbarrow, and start on their way to Nantucket. Queequeg tells a funny story about the first wheelbarrow Queequeg had ever seen, and how he did not know what to do with it.

Ishmael and Queequeg board a schooner to Nantucket. On this schooner, a local bumpkin mocks Queequeg, who responds by pushing him back. The bumpkin complains to the Captain that Queequeg is the devil, but the Captain merely. When the bumpkin is swept overboard when the mainsail breaks, Queequeg saves him and thus receives an apology from the captain. Queequeg seems to deserve a medal for his action, but behaves quite magnanimous.

Analysis: The descriptions of Queequeg as an intensely honorable and admirable character become an actuality in this chapter, in which Queequeg saves a man from drowning despite the fact that he earlier mocked Queequeg. He even behaves with dignity and great humility after doing so, refusing accolades for his bravery. Chapter 14 — Nantucket: Nantucket is a mere hillock and elbow of sand, all beach without a background.

There is a wonderful traditional story of how the island was settled by the red-men when an eagle carried an infant Indian in his talons, and his parents followed the eagle in their canoes to the island, where they found the infant's skeleton. Analysis: Melville frequently shifts styles throughout Moby Dick, veering from the narrative to explore different genres of writing. In this chapter, he indulges in writing a travelogue describing the history and locale of Nantucket.

The purpose of this is somewhat experimental and purely informative, adding depth and shading to the setting of the novel without actually contributing to the narrative drive of the story. Two pots hang from a tree near the inn, looking like a gallows. The Try Pots serves chowder for breakfast and dinner, and is paved with clamshells.

Analysis: Melville deflates a great deal of the tension that he had been building throughout the previous chapters through Ishmael's self- aware observations concerning the various ill omens he has discerned. Ishmael notes the various signs of death, including the gravestones, the name of his previous innkeeper Peter Coffin , and the gallows imagery, as if performing a symbolic literary analysis of the novel as he narrates. Nevertheless, this does make the reader explicitly aware of the death-related imagery that pervades the novel, muting its ominous, foreboding tone but still making the possibility of great pain and suffering inevitable.

Chapter Sixteen 16 — The Ship : Queequeg had been diligently consulting Yojo, the name of his black little god, in preparation for selecting their craft. There are three ships up for three-year voyages: the Devil-Dam, the Tit-bit, and the Pequod. The Pequod is named after a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians. The Pequod is a ship of the old school, rather small and with an old fashioned claw-footed look. The Captain was once Peleg, now retired after many years. Ishmael introduces himself to Peleg, who is suspicious because Ishmael has no whaling experience.

Peleg tells Ishmael that Ahab is now captain of the ship, and he has only one leg, for the other was lost by a whale. Peleg and Bildad, both Quakers, are owners of the boat, and are "fighting Quakers. Bildad is the "queerest old Quaker" he ever saw. Peleg and Bildad negotiate the lay share of the profits for the voyage, and Ishmael demands the three-hundredth lay. Peleg and Bildad argue with one another about how much of the lay they should offer, and their argument nearly leads to violence between the two.

After Bildad leaves, Ishmael signs the paper and asks to see Captain Ahab. Peleg describes him as a queer man, but a good one, "grand, ungodly, god-like. Before even meeting Ahab, Ishmael feels a sympathy and a sorrow for him. Analysis: The most significant aspect of this chapter is the introduction of Ahab, who is the central character and the primary focus of the novel, despite his mysterious and long-delayed appearance.

Long before Ahab actually interacts with Ishmael and the other characters, Melville establishes him as an imposing and tragic figure, deserving of sympathy and sorrow. Most of the details surrounding Ahab contain some element of legend, such as the story that he lost one of his legs, and Melville further creates a tension between Ahab's supposed grandeur and his more fearsome qualities. Peleg describes him as simultaneously ungodly and godlike, thus suggesting that the dynamic between these sides of Ahab's personality will form the primary internal struggle of Moby Dick.

Melville additionally continues the Biblical allusions that dominate the character names; here the name Ahab describes a king who turns vile, suggesting that the Ahab of this novel will be a similarly conflicted leader. While Ahab is the central character of the novel, Melville introduces in this chapter several minor characters who add shading to the novel. The "fighting Quakers" Bildad and Peleg continue the relationship between whaling and religion, incorporating their religious tradition into their merchant work ethic.


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Yet, as Queequeg's consultation of his god demonstrates, this relationship between religion and whaling is not specifically Christian; the relationship is more general and related to basic spirituality than to any particular sect. Chapter 17 — The Ramadan : Queequeg's Ramadan, or Fasting and Humiliation, continues all day, so Ishmael does not disturb him until night.

Ishmael considers how foolish some religious traditions are, whether Presbyterian or Pagan. When Ishmael returns to his room, he finds it locked, and panics because he sees that Queequeg's harpoon is missing. He makes Mrs. Hussey unlock the door there is some suspicion that Queequeg has committed suicide , but they find Queequeg inside, calm and self-collected, holding his Yojo idol on his head and not saying a word.

Queequeg does not speak for the entire day, until finally he presses his forehead against Ishmael's and declares that his Ramadan is over. Ishmael suggests to Queequeg that fasts are nonsense, bad for the health and useless for the soul. Ishmael believes that fasting makes the body and the spirit cave in.

Analysis: Although Herman Melville has approached matters of religious belief with a directness and seem approval as a significant part of human existence, he still remains quite critical of some aspects of religious belief. This chapter illustrates the belief espoused by Ishmael that religious practices are in some sense odd and in many instances detrimental; the message appears to be that spiritual practices should be, in a very distinct sense, useful, and that practices such as fasting have direct negative consequences.

Ishmael relates the possibility that Queequeg has committed suicide to his religious beliefs, and cites experience to show that those religions with the most harsh practices are those whose followers become sickly in mind and in temperament. The greatest argument refuting Ishmael's claim is the very character of Queequeg himself.

As the most poised and noble of the characters in the novel, Queequeg demonstrates the judgment and temperament that contradicts the idea of sickness and ill-humor as promoted by Ishmael. Chapter 18 — His Mark : Captain Peleg gruffly tells Ishmael that no cannibals such as Queequeg can go aboard unless they previously produce their papers. Ishmael finally says that Queequeg belongs to the same ancient catholic church as all do, the congregation of the world.

Peleg makes Queequeg, whom he calls Quohog, write his name, and he signs using the infinity symbol, an exact counterpart of a figure tattooed on his arm. Analysis: The idea of naming is a significant theme throughout Moby Dick, for each of the odd names of the novel has some significance, usually biblical. Melville has established a strong relationship between the name of many characters and the characters themselves Ishmael, Peter Coffin.

In Moby Dick, names serve as a key to the character, more than just an identifying mark and rather a key to their respective personalities. For Queequeg, his name as he writes it is literally part of him, tattooed on his arm. Therefore the assumption that Queequeg cannot be Christian because of his name and the mispronunciation of his name as "Quohog" symbolizes a loss of identity on his part by the estimation of Peleg.

Chapter 19 — The Prophet : A stranger passes Ishmael and Queequeg and asks them whether they have signed the articles, and whether this means that they have signed their souls. He then asks if they have souls at all to sell. The stranger asks if they have met Old Thunder Captain Ahab. Ishmael says that Captain Ahab is ill, but the strangers says that when Captain Ahab is all right, then his left arm which he. The stranger tells them that Ahab lost his leg. The stranger introduces himself as Elijah, then Ishmael and Queequeg leave him. Analysis: The character Elijah has a small but significant role in the novel, serving much as his biblical counterpart as a prophet for Ishmael as he begins his voyage.

The whaling voyage appears more and more ominous thanks to the appearance of this prophet, who indicates that Ishmael has sold his soul by agreeing to undertake the three year voyage on the Pequod. Also, the mythic connotations to Ahab continue in this chapter with the reference to him as "Old Thunder," an allusion to the Norse God of War. Chapter 20 — All Astir : There is great activity aboard the Pequod, as the sails are mended and preparations for departure come to a close.

The sailors store the Pequod with the food and amenities necessary for the three year voyage. Ishmael only half fancies being committed to so long a voyage, but prepares to sail the next morning. Analysis: The preparations for departure underscore the vast nature of the voyage on the Pequod. This is no short-term commitment that Ishmael and Queequeg are making; they are sacrificing three years of their lives for this voyage, and Ishmael only has a partial commitment to the journey.

The ambivalence that Ishmael feels toward the voyage affects his narrative; by making his view of the voyage unclear, Melville makes him an even more impartial narrator rather than one with a specific and identifiable agenda. Chapter 21 — Going Aboard : Elijah sees Ishmael again, and asks him if he is going aboard, then attempts to detain him. However, Ishmael and Queequeg board the Pequod, where they find everything quiet. Ishmael believes that he sees shadows on board, and he and Queequeg awake the chief mate of the ship, Starbuck.

The crew comes on board in twos and threes, while Captain Ahab remains invisible to everyone within his cabin. Analysis: The second appearance of Elijah reinforces his importance as a prophetic character as well as the grave undertones of the voyage, solidifying his claims of impending tragedy upon the Pequod. Melville creates a sense of ominous tension through the stillness and quiet of this chapter; the nearly silent ship and the seemingly dead Starbuck create the mood of a cemetery or crypt.

Melville compounds this through the shadows that Ishmael sees, which contain elements of a ghost story. In addition, the religious connotations to the novel continue as the crew boards the ship; their arrival in pairs recalls the story of Noah and the Ark, as if the crew were the last remnants of a world they are leaving behind.

Chapter 22 — Merry Christmas : Peleg asks Starbuck whether everything is all right, and orders him to get Captain Ahab. Peleg gives orders to the crew, while Bildad scolds the crew for profanity. Bildad paces about the deck, somewhat loath to leave the boat on such a long voyage. Peleg takes the departure more "like a philosopher," but despite this there is still some regret as he and Bildad board their boat and leave the Pequod for the shore as it sails out to sea.

Analysis: The title of this novel is ironic, for it is the only significant mention of the holiday throughout the chapter; upon boarding the Pequod, such details as dates and holidays lose their significance as the crew removes themselves from normal society. Yet the characters Peleg and Bildad contribute to the notion that this removal from society is somewhat regrettable. Despite their return to the comforts of land, Bildad and Peleg are mournful that they must leave the Pequod. Chapter 23 — The Lee Shore : When the Pequod thrusts into the waves, Ishmael sees Bulkington, a dangerous man just landed from a four years' dangerous voyage whom he had seen at the Coffin inn.

The land seems "scorching" to Bulkington's feet, and Ishmael begins to think about how "in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God," and thus it is better to die at sea than on land. Analysis: Both this and the previous chapter posit the idea that a certain class of persons exist who operate better on the sea than on land, as shown by Bildad and Peleg, both regretful that they must leave the Pequod for shore, and Bulkington, who seemed unnatural when Ishmael saw him on land at the Coffin inn.

Ishmael attributes this to a certain psychological attainment, claiming that truth belongs at sea for its indefinite quality and flexibility. For Melville, the sea represents a degree of mystery and abstraction compared to the more definite atmosphere of dry land. Chapter 24 — The Advocate : The business of whaling is not considered by those in the liberal professions and is largely unnoticed, likely because others believe that the vocation amounts to a butchering sort of business. Yet this is an important business, as shown by the Dutch, who have admirals of their whaling fleets, or the lavish expenses bestowed on whaling fleets by Louis XVI.

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Ishmael refutes the claim that the whaler has no famous author or chronicler by citing Job, who wrote the first account of the Leviathan. There is dignity in whaling, an imperial profession. Ishmael calls a whale ship his Yale and his Harvard. Analysis: One of the primary reasons that Moby Dick is considered a paramount of American literature is its stylistic ambition; the novel encompasses a wide range of genres and shifts in and out of them while interrupting the narrative.

Here Melville abandons the actual plot of the novel to indulge in an argumentative essay concerning the merits of whaling. In terms of the novel as a whole, this chapter serves to equate whaling with something larger and more significant through the allusions to Louis XVI and Jonah. The numerous reference to the whale as a Leviathan are certain significant in a political context as well, recalling the title of the famous political tract by Thomas Hobbes in which he names the machinery of the state a "Leviathan.

Chapter 25 — Postscript : Ishmael notes that the same oil used for the coronation of kings is sperm oil in its unmanufactured, unpolluted state. Analysis: This chapter is essentially as its title states, a postscript; this is important for stylistic integrity, lending integrity to the essay style of the previous chapter in its complete form. He is quite thin, which seems to be a condensation of the man, who is by no means ill-looking. He is no crusader after perils, for in him courage is not a sentiment but a thing that is useful.

Ishmael posits that man in the ideal, is so noble and sparkling, that "over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. In some sense, Starbuck represents efficiency and rationality, but he also has a core of idealism that endows him with a great sense of nobility and a faith in mankind that starkly conflicts with the dark and brooding sense of humanity held by Ahab. These qualities in Starbuck foreshadow later conflict between Ahab and Starbuck; Melville creates such a contrast between the two characters' values that a conflict between the obsessive Ahab and the rational Starbuck seems inevitable.

Chapter 27 — Knights and Squires : Stubb is the second mate of the voyage, a native of Cape Cod and a happy-go-lucky man. He is good- humored, easy and careless. There is no telling what he thought of death, and Ishmael wonders how he can remain so easy-going and unfearing. Ishmael attributes it in part to his smoking. The third mate of the ship is Flask, a native of Martha's Vineyard who is very pugnacious concerning whales. Starbuck, Flask and Stubb are momentous men.

Queequeg is selected as Starbuck's harpooner. Tashtego, an Indian from Martha's Vineyard, is the harpooner for Stubb. The third harpooner is Daggoo, a gigantic black man from Africa who still retains his barbaric virtues. According to Ishmael, islanders make the best whale men; he dubs them Isolatoes, not acknowledging the common continent of men but living on a separate continent of one's own. Analysis: Melville adds greater depth to the characters who make up the crew of the Pequod in this chapter, in which he portrays Stubb as a jovial and good-humored person who remains undaunted by the events around him, and Flask as an aggressive New Englander.

The division of labor among the ship seems significant; while all of the officers are from the eastern United States, specifically New England, their assistants are drawn strictly from less civilized cultures: American Indian, African and Aboriginal. Yet Ishmael seems to indicate that there is an order to the ship apart from race or national identity despite the hierarchy of the ship; the men who are the superior whalers are those who are "isolatoes," not bound to particular allegiances and instead living as independent persons separate from their culture.

This further continues the theme of Moby Dick concerning the whale voyage as an escape from the normal confines of civilization; on the whale ship men need not be concerned with their identities and become an independent part of their particular crew. The seclusion of Ahab begins to disturb Ishmael, who remembers Elijah's diabolical rants about him. Still, Ishmael concedes that three better chief officers could not be found for the ship. Captain Ahab finally appears on deck one day, bearing no signs of illness and looking like a man cut away from the stake.

He seems to be made of solid bronze. There is a slender rod-like mark on his face that appears branded upon him. Ahab stands on an ivory leg, fashioned from the bone of a Sperm Whale's jaw. Ahab gives an appearance of fortitude, but soon withdraws into the cabin. After that morning, he is visible every day to the crew and eventually becomes a little genial and less and less a recluse. In one instance, he even appears to give what in another man would be considered a smile.

Analysis: Ahab finally receives an introduction in this chapter after a long period of foreshadowing by Melville. In contrast to the portrayals of the other ship officers by Melville, the description of Ahab focuses on the qualities that are inhuman and even mechanical. There are few details akin to those given for Stubb or Starbuck, which emphasize their personalities and ideals; instead, Melville gives a basic physical description of Ahab that compares him to largely inhuman and inanimate objects.

The basic impression that Melville gives of Ahab is one of durability; Ahab is a man who shows few basic human characteristics, but instead has been chiseled and formed by his whaling experiences. His ivory leg is a significant aspect of his character, demonstrating both this somewhat inhuman quality to Ahab as well as showing that the whale is an inseparable part of Ahab himself, literally part of his body.

Every twenty- four hours at night Ahab would aid the sailors with the rope, a "touch of humanity" in him. When Stubb makes a joke at Ahab's expense, Ahab sharply reprimands him and calls him a donkey, then a mule. He finally kicks Stubb. Stubb wonders how Ahab seems to sleep only three hours each night, and says that Ahab is afflicted with "what some folks ashore call a conscience.

Whenever he performs a kindly action it is a departure from his conventional behavior and thus notable. More appropriate to Ahab's demeanor is his stern treatment of Stubb, which instills a great fear and loathing in him. Melville even portrays Ahab as a person who does not even need to follow conventional human behaviors, living on barely any sleep. However, Stubb draws an interesting conclusion from this behavior by Ahab, finding that this is evidence that Ahab has a conscience. This suggests that particular human qualities may exist within Ahab, despite his stoic and harsh behavior; in particular, Ahab is a haunted man, afflicted by his experiences and obsessed with these.

Chapter 30 — The Pipe : When Stubb had departed, Ahab stands leaning over the bulwarks, where he remarks that smoking no longer soothes, and he tosses the lighted pipe into the sea then paces around the ship. Analysis: Melville demonstrates Ahab's power and influence over his crew through the effect that Ahab has on Stubb, who is shaken by his confrontation with Ahab.

This bolsters the idea that Ahab is a fearsome man not to be opposed, not only because of his physical and direct influence over others but also because of the psychological stress that he places on others. Ahab is capable of creating a sense of turmoil and unease in Stubb, who finds no solace for his anxiety concerning Ahab. Chapter 31 — Queen Mab : Stubb tells Flask that he dreamed that Captain Ahab kicked him with his ivory leg, and when he tried to kick back he kicked Ahab's leg right off.

Stubb muses on the difference between a living leg and a false one, and claims that a blow from the hand is fifty times more savage than a blow from a cane. Flask tells him that a kick from Ahab bestows honors akin to a slap by a queen. Analysis: Melville continues to elaborate the theme of Ahab as inhuman through this chapter, in which Stubb muses on the difference between a living leg and a false one, finding a strike by a living one to be far more insulting than being hit by a wooden leg.

The title of this chapter, Queen Mab, refers to a famous soliloquy in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Mercutio, in which he speaks of the fairy queen who visits persons to instill dreams in them. The title is this ironic, considering the Queen Mab soliloquy refers to dreams of romance while Stubb instead has bizarre dreams of revenge. Chapter 32 — Cetology : Cetology is the study of whales, and the subject has been lengthily handled by numerous authors including Captain Scoresby, the best existing authority on the Greenland whale.

There are only two books that pretend to put the living Sperm Whale as their subject and succeed at the task, by Bennett and by Beale, both surgeons to English whale ships. Ishmael finally defines a whale as a spouting fish with a horizontal tail, going back to the claim by Jonah that the whale is a fish. Ishmael discusses the differences between the various whales, noting each type and the characteristics of the respective types of whale.

Analysis: Melville once again abandons the narrative of the novel to adopt a different stylistic tone for Moby Dick. The novel now shifts to a scientific discourse on the study of whales in an attempt to elucidate their particular characteristics. The effect of this description of cetology, however, has an opposite effect; instead of giving a clear indication of the Sperm Whale, the chapter on cetology contributes to the idea that the sperm whale is something difficult to study and define.

This lends credence to more symbolic definitions of the white whale that is the novel's title character; since it is more difficult to define the whale in scientific terms, the whale thus lends itself to more vague and creative symbolism. In the American Fishery is not only an important officer in the boat, but under certain circumstances the commander of the ship's deck. Captain Ahab tends to mask himself behind the forms and usages of the sea, for he has an intellectual superiority that can manifest itself in irresistible dictatorship.

Ahab moves among his crew in all his "Nantucket grimness and shagginess. More importantly, Melville continues to elucidate the character of Ahab as not only an imposing and obsessive man, but a person whose intellectual capacity lends itself to a strong sense of dictatorship and control. It is these qualities that will become significant once the conflict with Moby Dick comes to prominence as the novel progresses.

Melville: Moby Dick - Summary and Analysis Chapters 4-6

Ahab presides over the table like a mute sea-lion surrounded by his deferential cubs, but in him there seems to be no social arrogance. The table is silent, but because Ahab forbade conversation; it is only that he is silent. Flask is the last person down at the table and the first one to leave; since Flask had become an officer he had never known what it was to be otherwise than hungry, more or less, for what he eats does not relieve his hunger as keep it. In contrast to the captain's table is the cabin's table where everyone else eats.

Dough-Boy seems tense while serving Queequeg and Tashtego. Ahab seems no exception to most American whale captains, who believe that the ship's cabin belongs to them and it is by courtesy alone that anybody else is permitted there. Socially, Ahab is inaccessible, nominally included in the census of Christendom, but still alien to it. Analysis: The particularly inhuman qualities to Ahab manifest themselves in strange and surprising ways; despite his dictatorial streak and fearsome manner, he has no hierarchical sense of social propriety nor "social arrogance.

This further relates to the idea of Ahab as inhuman and, as Melville calls him, "alien" to others. As well as the separation between Ahab and his crew, an additional division that Melville describes in this chapter is the line between the officers and the crew, who take their meals at different tables and eat under more tense conditions.

Melville does not strongly develop the contrast between the two tables in order to make an explicit statement, but does leave the difference between the two as a reminder of the hierarchy of the Pequod. Chapter 35 — The Mast-Head : In most American whalemen the mast-heads are manned almost simultaneously with the vessel's leaving her port.

There is a long history of mast-heads dating back to the Egyptians. Obed of Nantucket tells that in the early times of whale fishery, before ships were regularly launched in pursuit of game, people of Nantucket erected spars along the sea-coast as lookouts, but this custom has now become obsolete. There are unfortunate whale ships unprovided with crow's nests, the little tents or pulpits that protect the whaler from inclement weather. Analysis: This chapter is yet another instance in which Melville abandons the narrative to employ a different style of writing.

He once again returns to a historical view of whaling, citing developments in the industry and changes to it. Chapter 36 — The Quarter-Deck : Ahab ascends the cabin-gangway to the deck and paces as usual; his pacing has made dents that look deeper and deeper. Stubb remarks to Flask that "the chick that's in him pecks the shell. He tells the crew that whichever one raises Ahab a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw will have an ounce of gold.

Tashtego asks Ahab if this white whale is the one called Moby Dick. Stubb whispers that Moby Dick smites Ahab's chest, and that "it rings most vast, but hollow. Ahab claims that all things are but masks but in each event there is some unknown reasoning behind that mask, and man must strike through this mask. For Ahab, the white whale is that mask. He says that "that inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate" and "truth has no confines. Body parts are a prevalent motif throughout this chapter, with the mention of Ahab's lost leg and the reference to Stubb about how Ahab's chest "rings most vast, but hollow.

Even at this first mention of Moby Dick, Melville indicates that Ahab's obsession with the whale is a sign of madness. For Ahab, the defeat of Moby Dick will represent a personal redemption and a means of achieving clarity and peace. Claiming that Moby Dick is "chiefly what I hate" gives the whale greater significance for Ahab, who finds that the whale represents all of the mysteries of his life.

This creates an interesting duality; the quest to find Moby Dick is therefore both an external conflict between Ahab and the whale as well as an internal conflict within Ahab for a sense of peace and happiness. Chapter 37 — Sunset : Ahab sits alone in the cabin by the stern windows, gazing outward. This chapter is told from the perspective of Ahab, who claims that there was once a time when the sunrise nobly spurred him, but no more.

He considers what he has dared and willed, and what he will do, despite the fact that Starbuck may think him mad. Ahab calls himself "madness maddened. These internal thoughts by Ahab are significant, for they demonstrate that Ahab has a sense of self- awareness concerning his supposed madness; he is not a man completely possessed by his need for justice, but a man who realizes his faults and in some sense attempts to suppress them.

Chapter 38 — Dusk : Starbuck leans against the mainmast. This chapter is told from the perspective of Starbuck, who says that his soul is more than matched and is over-manned by a madman. Starbuck thinks that he will see Ahab's impious end, but he feels that he must help him to it.

Starbuck nevertheless retains some sense of hope. We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare. Enough, that when breakfast was over he withdrew like the rest into the public room, lighted his tomahawk-pipe, and was sitting there quietly digesting and smoking with his inseparable hat on, when I sallied out for a stroll.

If I had been astonished at first catching a glimpse of so outlandish an individual as Queequeg circulating among the polite society of a civilized town, that astonishment soon departed upon taking my first daylight stroll through the streets of New Bedford. In thoroughfares nigh the docks, any considerable seaport will frequently offer to view the queerest looking nondescripts from foreign parts. Even in Broadway and Chestnut streets, Mediterranean mariners will sometimes jostle the affrighted ladies.

In these last-mentioned haunts you see only sailors; but in New Bedford, actual cannibals stand chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom yet carry on their bones unholy flesh. It makes a stranger stare. But, besides the Feegeeans, Tongatobooarrs, Erromanggoans, Pannangians, and Brighggians, and, besides the wild specimens of the whaling-craft which unheeded reel about the streets, you will see other sights still more curious, certainly more comical.

There weekly arrive in this town scores of green Vermonters and New Hampshire men, all athirst for gain and glory in the fishery. They are mostly young, of stalwart frames; fellows who have felled forests, and now seek to drop the axe and snatch the whale-lance. Many are as green as the Green Mountains whence they came. In some things you would think them but a few hours old. Look there! He wears a beaver hat and swallow-tailed coat, girdled with a sailor-belt and sheath-knife. Here comes another with a sou'-wester and a bombazine cloak. No town-bred dandy will compare with a country-bred one?

I mean a downright bumpkin dandy? Now when a country dandy like this takes it into his head to make a distinguished reputation, and joins the great whale-fishery, you should see the comical things he does upon reaching the seaport. In bespeaking his sea-outfit, he orders bell-buttons to his waistcoats; straps to his canvas trowsers. Ah, poor Hay-Seed! But think not that this famous town has only harpooneers, cannibals, and bumpkins to show her visitors. Not at all. Still New Bedford is a queer place. Had it not been for us whalemen, that tract of land would this day perhaps have been in as howling condition as the coast of Labrador.

As it is, parts of her back country are enough to frighten one, they look so bony. The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England. It is a land of oil, true enough: but not like Canaan; a land, also, of corn and wine. The streets do not run with milk; nor in the spring-time do they pave them with fresh eggs. Yet, in spite of this, nowhere in all America will you find more patrician-like houses; parks and gardens more opulent, than in New Bedford. Whence came they? Go and gaze upon the iron emblematical harpoons round yonder lofty mansion, and your question will be answered.

Yes; all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea. Can Herr Alexander perform a feat like that? In New Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers to their daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece. You must go to New Bedford to see a brilliant wedding; for, they say, they have reservoirs of oil in every house, and every night recklessly burn their lengths in spermaceti candles.

In summer time, the town is sweet to see; full of fine maples? And in August, high in air, the beautiful and bountiful horse-chestnuts, candelabra-wise, proffer the passer-by their tapering upright cones of congregated blossoms. So omnipotent is art; which in many a district of New Bedford has superinduced bright terraces of flowers upon the barren refuse rocks thrown aside at creation's final day.

And the women of New Bedford, they bloom like their own red roses. But roses only bloom in summer; whereas the fine carnation of their cheeks is perennial as sunlight in the seventh heavens. Elsewhere match that bloom of theirs, ye cannot, save in Salem, where they tell me the young girls breathe such musk, their sailor sweethearts smell them miles off shore, as though they were drawing nigh the odorous Moluccas instead of the Puritanic sands.

In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot. I am sure that I did not. Returning from my first morning stroll, I again sallied out upon this special errand. The sky had changed from clear, sunny cold, to driving sleet and mist.

Wrapping myself in my shaggy jacket of the cloth called bearskin, I fought my way against the stubborn storm. Entering, I found a small scattered congregation of sailors, and sailors' wives and widows. A muffled silence reigned, only broken at times by the shrieks of the storm. Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable.

The chaplain had not yet arrived; and there these silent islands of men and women sat steadfastly eyeing several marble tablets, with black borders, masoned into the wall on either side the pulpit. Three of them ran something like the following, but I do not pretend to quote:? Shaking off the sleet from my ice-glazed hat and jacket, I seated myself near the door, and turning sideways was surprised to see Queequeg near me. Affected by the solemnity of the scene, there was a wondering gaze of incredulous curiosity in his countenance. This savage was the only person present who seemed to notice my entrance; because he was the only one who could not read, and, therefore, was not reading those frigid inscriptions on the wall.

Whether any of the relatives of the seamen whose names appeared there were now among the congregation, I knew not; but so many are the unrecorded accidents in the fishery, and so plainly did several women present wear the countenance if not the trappings of some unceasing grief, that I feel sure that here before me were assembled those, in whose unhealing hearts the sight of those bleak tablets sympathetically caused the old wounds to bleed afresh. What bitter blanks in those black-bordered marbles which cover no ashes! What despair in those immovable inscriptions!

What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave. As well might those tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here. In what census of living creatures, the dead of mankind are included; why it is that a universal proverb says of them, that they tell no tales, though containing more secrets than the Goodwin Sands; how it is that to his name who yesterday departed for the other world, we prefix so significant and infidel a word, and yet do not thus entitle him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies of this living earth; why the Life Insurance Companies pay death-forfeitures upon immortals; in what eternal, unstirring paralysis, and deadly, hopeless trance, yet lies antique Adam who died sixty round centuries ago; how it is that we still refuse to be comforted for those who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city.

All these things are not without their meanings. But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope. It needs scarcely to be told, with what feelings, on the eve of a Nantucket voyage, I regarded those marble tablets, and by the murky light of that darkened, doleful day read the fate of the whalemen who had gone before me. Yes, Ishmael, the same fate may be thine. But somehow I grew merry again. Delightful inducements to embark, fine chance for promotion, it seems?

Yes, there is death in this business of whaling? But what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.

Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me. And therefore three cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat and stove body when they will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot. I had not been seated very long ere a man of a certain venerable robustness entered; immediately as the storm-pelted door flew back upon admitting him, a quick regardful eyeing of him by all the congregation, sufficiently attested that this fine old man was the chaplain.

Yes, it was the famous Father Mapple, so called by the whalemen, among whom he was a very great favourite. He had been a sailor and a harpooneer in his youth, but for many years past had dedicated his life to the ministry. At the time I now write of, Father Mapple was in the hardy winter of a healthy old age; that sort of old age which seems merging into a second flowering youth, for among all the fissures of his wrinkles, there shone certain mild gleams of a newly developing bloom? No one having previously heard his history, could for the first time behold Father Mapple without the utmost interest, because there were certain engrafted clerical peculiarities about him, imputable to that adventurous maritime life he had led.

When he entered I observed that he carried no umbrella, and certainly had not come in his carriage, for his tarpaulin hat ran down with melting sleet, and his great pilot cloth jacket seemed almost to drag him to the floor with the weight of the water it had absorbed. However, hat and coat and overshoes were one by one removed, and hung up in a little space in an adjacent corner; when, arrayed in a decent suit, he quietly approached the pulpit. Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the architect, it seemed, had acted upon the hint of Father Mapple, and finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used in mounting a ship from a boat at sea.

The wife of a whaling captain had provided the chapel with a handsome pair of red worsted man-ropes for this ladder, which, being itself nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany colour, the whole contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by no means in bad taste. Halting for an instant at the foot of the ladder, and with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs of the man-ropes, Father Mapple cast a look upwards, and then with a truly sailor-like but still reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted the steps as if ascending the main-top of his vessel.

The perpendicular parts of this side ladder, as is usually the case with swinging ones, were of cloth-covered rope, only the rounds were of wood, so that at every step there was a joint. At my first glimpse of the pulpit, it had not escaped me that however convenient for a ship, these joints in the present instance seemed unnecessary. For I was not prepared to see Father Mapple after gaining the height, slowly turn round, and stooping over the pulpit, deliberately drag up the ladder step by step, till the whole was deposited within, leaving him impregnable in his little Quebec.

I pondered some time without fully comprehending the reason for this. Father Mapple enjoyed such a wide reputation for sincerity and sanctity, that I could not suspect him of courting notoriety by any mere tricks of the stage. No, thought I, there must be some sober reason for this thing; furthermore, it must symbolize something unseen. Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation, he signifies his spiritual withdrawal for the time, from all outward worldly ties and connexions?

Yes, for replenished with the meat and wine of the word, to the faithful man of God, this pulpit, I see, is a self-containing stronghold? But the side ladder was not the only strange feature of the place, borrowed from the chaplain's former sea-farings. Between the marble cenotaphs on either hand of the pulpit, the wall which formed its back was adorned with a large painting representing a gallant ship beating against a terrible storm off a lee coast of black rocks and snowy breakers.

But high above the flying scud and dark-rolling clouds, there floated a little isle of sunlight, from which beamed forth an angel's face; and this bright face shed a distinct spot of radiance upon the ship's tossed deck, something like that silver plate now inserted into the Victory's plank where Nelson fell. Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same sea-taste that had achieved the ladder and the picture. Its panelled front was in the likeness of a ship's bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship's fiddle-headed beak.

What could be more full of meaning?? From thence it is the storm of God's quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favourable winds. Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.

Father Mapple rose, and in a mild voice of unassuming authority ordered the scattered people to condense. There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher. He paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit's bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea.

This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog? Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the howling of the storm. A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down upon the proper page, said: "Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah?

Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah's deep sealine sound! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish's belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us! Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah.

As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God? But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do? And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists. He thinks that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign, but only the Captains of this earth.

He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, and seeks a ship that's bound for Tarshish. There lurks, perhaps, a hitherto unheeded meaning here. By all accounts Tarshish could have been no other city than the modern Cadiz. That's the opinion of learned men. And where is Cadiz, shipmates? Cadiz is in Spain; as far by water, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have sailed in those ancient days, when the Atlantic was an almost unknown sea.

Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly coast of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar. See ye not then, shipmates, that Jonah sought to flee world-wide from God? Miserable man! So disordered, self-condemning is his look, that had there been policemen in those days, Jonah, on the mere suspicion of something wrong, had been arrested ere he touched a deck.

How plainly he's a fugitive! At last, after much dodging search, he finds the Tarshish ship receiving the last items of her cargo; and as he steps on board to see its Captain in the cabin, all the sailors for the moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil eye. Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and confidence; in vain essays his wretched smile. Strong intuitions of the man assure the mariners he can be no innocent. In their gamesome but still serious way, one whispers to the other? He reads, and looks from Jonah to the bill; while all his sympathetic shipmates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay their hands upon him.

Frighted Jonah trembles, and summoning all his boldness to his face, only looks so much the more a coward. He will not confess himself suspected; but that itself is strong suspicion. So he makes the best of it; and when the sailors find him not to be the man that is advertised, they let him pass, and he descends into the cabin. For the instant he almost turns to flee again. But he rallies.

Jonah, that's another stab. But he swiftly calls away the Captain from that scent. I'll pay now. And taken with the context, this is full of meaning. In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers. So Jonah's Captain prepares to test the length of Jonah's purse, ere he judge him openly.

He charges him thrice the usual sum; and it's assented to. Then the Captain knows that Jonah is a fugitive; but at the same time resolves to help a flight that paves its rear with gold. Yet when Jonah fairly takes out his purse, prudent suspicions still molest the Captain. He rings every coin to find a counterfeit. Not a forger, any way, he mutters; and Jonah is put down for his passage. Hearing him foolishly fumbling there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within. All dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead.

Ongoing Conversations

The air is close, and Jonah gasps. Then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship's water-line, Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels' wards.


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The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his tormented eyes roll round the place, and this thus far successful fugitive finds no refuge for his restless glance. But that contradiction in the lamp more and more appals him. The floor, the ceiling, and the side, are all awry. That ship, my friends, was the first of recorded smugglers! But the sea rebels; he will not bear the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes on, the ship is like to break.

But now when the boatswain calls all hands to lighten her; when boxes, bales, and jars are clattering overboard; when the wind is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah's head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep. He sees no black sky and raging sea, feels not the reeling timbers, and little hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale, which even now with open mouth is cleaving the seas after him.

Aye, shipmates, Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship? But the frightened master comes to him, and shrieks in his dead ear, 'What meanest thou, O, sleeper! But at that moment he is sprung upon by a panther billow leaping over the bulwarks. Wave after wave thus leaps into the ship, and finding no speedy vent runs roaring fore and aft, till the mariners come nigh to drowning while yet afloat. And ever, as the white moon shows her affrighted face from the steep gullies in the blackness overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing bowsprit pointing high upward, but soon beat downward again towards the tormented deep.

In all his cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known. The sailors mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great tempest was upon them. The lot is Jonah's; that discovered, then how furiously they mob him with their questions. Whence comest thou? Thy country? What people? But mark now, my shipmates, the behavior of poor Jonah.

The eager mariners but ask him who he is, and where from; whereas, they not only receive an answer to those questions, but likewise another answer to a question not put by them, but the unsolicited answer is forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him. Straightway, he now goes on to make a full confession; whereupon the mariners became more and more appalled, but still are pitiful. For when Jonah, not yet supplicating God for mercy, since he but too well knew the darkness of his deserts,?

But all in vain; the indignant gale howls louder; then, with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the other they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething into the yawning jaws awaiting him; and the whale shoots-to all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison.

Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the fish's belly. But observe his prayer, and learn a weighty lesson. For sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance. He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this, that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will still look towards His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.

And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is shown in the eventual deliverance of him from the sea and the whale. Shipmates, I do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin but I do place him before you as a model for repentance. Sin not; but if you do, take heed to repent of it like Jonah. While he was speaking these words, the howling of the shrieking, slanting storm without seemed to add new power to the preacher, who, when describing Jonah's sea-storm, seemed tossed by a storm himself. His deep chest heaved as with a ground-swell; his tossed arms seemed the warring elements at work; and the thunders that rolled away from off his swarthy brow, and the light leaping from his eye, made all his simple hearers look on him with a quick fear that was strange to them.

There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned over the leaves of the Book once more; and, at last, standing motionless, with closed eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself. But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words:. I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye.

And now how gladly would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads ME that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to ME, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appalled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa.

But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along 'into the midst of the seas,' where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and 'the weeds were wrapped about his head,' and all the watery world of woe bowled over him.

Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet? Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and 'vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;' when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten? Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood!

That was it! Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonour! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway! He dropped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm,?

Is not the main-truck higher than the kelson is low? Delight is to him? Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges.

Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath? O Father!? I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing: I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God? He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place.

Returning to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found Queequeg there quite alone; he having left the Chapel before the benediction some time. He was sitting on a bench before the fire, with his feet on the stove hearth, and in one hand was holding close up to his face that little negro idol of his; peering hard into its face, and with a jack-knife gently whittling away at its nose, meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish way.

But being now interrupted, he put up the image; and pretty soon, going to the table, took up a large book there, and placing it on his lap began counting the pages with deliberate regularity; at every fiftieth page? He would then begin again at the next fifty; seeming to commence at number one each time, as though he could not count more than fifty, and it was only by such a large number of fifties being found together, that his astonishment at the multitude of pages was excited.

With much interest I sat watching him. Savage though he was, and hideously marred about the face? You cannot hide the soul.

READERS GUIDE

Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seemed tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils. And besides all this, there was a certain lofty bearing about the Pagan, which even his uncouthness could not altogether maim. He looked like a man who had never cringed and never had had a creditor. Whether it was, too, that his head being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and brighter relief, and looked more expansive than it otherwise would, this I will not venture to decide; but certain it was his head was phrenologically an excellent one.

It may seem ridiculous, but it reminded me of General Washington's head, as seen in the popular busts of him. It had the same long regularly graded retreating slope from above the brows, which were likewise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly wooded on top. Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically developed. Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to be looking out at the storm from the casement, he never heeded my presence, never troubled himself with so much as a single glance; but appeared wholly occupied with counting the pages of the marvellous book.

Considering how sociably we had been sleeping together the night previous, and especially considering the affectionate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the morning, I thought this indifference of his very strange. But savages are strange beings; at times you do not know exactly how to take them. At first they are overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems a Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances.

All this struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is? Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have "broken his digester.

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without in solemn swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it.

There he sat, his very indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him. And those same things that would have repelled most others, they were the very magnets that thus drew me. I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.

I drew my bench near him, and made some friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with him meanwhile.

by Herman Melville

At first he little noticed these advances; but presently, upon my referring to his last night's hospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were again to be bedfellows. I told him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased, perhaps a little complimented. We then turned over the book together, and I endeavored to explain to him the purpose of the printing, and the meaning of the few pictures that were in it. Thus I soon engaged his interest; and from that we went to jabbering the best we could about the various outer sights to be seen in this famous town.

Soon I proposed a social smoke; and, producing his pouch and tomahawk, he quietly offered me a puff. And then we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of his, and keeping it regularly passing between us. If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Pagan's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies.

He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple savage those old rules would not apply. After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room together. He made me a present of his embalmed head; took out his enormous tobacco wallet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver; then spreading them on the table, and mechanically dividing them into two equal portions, pushed one of them towards me, and said it was mine.

I was going to remonstrate; but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets. I let them stay. He then went about his evening prayers, took out his idol, and removed the paper fireboard. By certain signs and symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case he invited me, I would comply or otherwise. I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood?

But what is worship? Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth? But what is worship?? THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?? THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship.

Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we did not go to sleep without some little chat. How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.

Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg? We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations, what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we felt like getting up again, though day-break was yet some way down the future.

Yes, we became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position began to grow wearisome, and by little and little we found ourselves sitting up; the clothes well tucked around us, leaning against the head-board with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending over them, as if our kneepans were warming-pans. We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room.

The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm.

For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal. We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all at once I thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets, whether by day or by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of being in bed.

Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part. Upon opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o'clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion. Nor did I at all object to the hint from Queequeg that perhaps it were best to strike a light, seeing that we were so wide awake; and besides he felt a strong desire to have a few quiet puffs from his Tomahawk.

Be it said, that though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when love once comes to bend them. For now I liked nothing better than to have Queequeg smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be full of such serene household joy then.

I no more felt unduly concerned for the landlord's policy of insurance. I was only alive to the condensed confidential comfortableness of sharing a pipe and a blanket with a real friend. With our shaggy jackets drawn about our shoulders, we now passed the Tomahawk from one to the other, till slowly there grew over us a blue hanging tester of smoke, illuminated by the flame of the new-lit lamp.

Whether it was that this undulating tester rolled the savage away to far distant scenes, I know not, but he now spoke of his native island; and, eager to hear his history, I begged him to go on and tell it. For Melville, the whale is an indefinite figure, as best shown in "The Whiteness of the Whale" Chapter Melville defines the whiteness as absence of color and thus finds the whale as having an absence of meaning.

Melville bolsters this premise that the whale cannot be defined through the various stories that Ishmael tells in which scholars, historians and artists misinterpret the whale in their respective fields. Indeed, the extended discussion of the various aspects of the whale also serve this purpose; by detailing the various aspects of the whale in their many forms, Melville makes the whale an even more inscrutable figure whose essence cannot be described through its history or physiognomy.

The recurring failed attempts to find a concrete definition of the whale leave the Sperm Whale, and Moby Dick more specifically, as abstract and devoid of any concrete meaning. By allowing the whale to exist as a mysterious figure, Melville does not pin the whale down as an easy metaphorical parallel, but instead leaves a multiplicity of various interpretations for Moby Dick.

A more personalized interpretation for the thematic significance of the inability to define the whale relates to Ahab's comparison of Moby Dick to a mask that obscures the unknown reasoning that he seeks. In this interpretation, the inability to define a whale is significant not in itself, but because it stands in the way of greater reasoning and understanding. Moby Dick as a Part of Ahab: Throughout the novel, Melville creates a relationship between Ahab and Moby Dick despite the latter's absence until the final three chapters through the recurrence of elements creating a close relationship between Ahab and the whale.

The most significant of these is the actual physical presence of the Sperm Whale as part of Ahab's body in the form of Ahab's ivory leg. The whale is a physical part of Ahab in this instance; it is literally a part of Ahab. Melville also develops this theme through the uncanny sense that Ahab has for the whale. Ahab has a nearly psychic sense of Moby Dick's presence, and more tragically, the idea of Moby Dick perpetually haunts the formidable captain.

This theme serves in part to better explain the depth of emotion behind Ahab's quest for the whale; as a living presence that haunts Ahab's life, he feels that he must continue on his quest no matter the cost. The Contrast between Civilized and Pagan Society: The relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael throughout Moby Dick generally illustrates the prevalent contrast between civilized, specifically Christian societies and uncivilized, pagan societies.

The continued comparisons and contrasts between these two types of societies is often favorable for Melville, particularly in the discussion of Queequeg, the most idealized character in the novel, whose uncivilized and imposing appearance only obscures his actual honor and civilized demeanor. In this respect, Melville is fit simply to deconstruct Queequeg and place him in entirely sympathetic terms, finding the characters from civilized and from uncivilized societies to be virtually identical.

Nevertheless, Melville does not include these thematic elements simply for a lesson on other cultures; a recurring theme equates non-Christian societies with diabolical behavior, particularly when in reference to Ahab. Ahab specifically chooses the three pagan characters' blood when he wishes to temper his harpoon in the name of the devil, while the most obviously corrupt character in Moby Dick is conspicuously the Persian Fedallah, whom the other characters believe to be Satan in disguise. With the exception of Queequeg, equating the pagan characters with Satan does align with the general religious overtones of the novel, one which presumes Christianity as its basis and moral ground.

Melville shows this early on in the case of Queequeg and the other Isolatoes Daggoo and Tashtego , who represents the transition from uncivilized to civilized society unbound by any specific nationality, but in an overwhelming amount of cases this transitional theme relates to the precarious line between life and death.

There are a number of characters who teeter at the brink between life and death, whether literally or metaphorically, throughout Moby Dick. Queequeg again proves to be an example: during his illness he prepares for death and in fact remains in his own coffin waiting for illness to overtake him, but it never does Chapter Queequeg in his coffin. The coffin itself becomes a transitional element several chapters later when the carpenter converts it into a life-buoy and it thus comes to symbolize both the saving of a life and the end of one Chapter The Life-Buoy.

Several of the minor characters in Moby Dick also exist in highly transitional states between life and death. After Pippin jumps to his death from the whaling boat and is saved only by chance, he loses his sanity and behaves as if a part of him, the "infinite of his soul" had already died; essentially, the character becomes a shell of a person waiting for death. Melville further elaborates this theme through the blacksmith, who works on the sea primarily as a means to escape life. He came on his journey to escape from the trappings of life after his family had died, and exists on sea primarily as a passage before his eventual death.

Harbingers and Superstition: A recurring theme throughout Moby Dick is the appearance of harbingers, superstitious and prophecies that foreshadow a tragic end to the story. The Parsee Fedallah also has a prophetic dream concerning Ahab's quest against Moby Dick, dreaming of hearses although he misinterprets the dream to mean that Ahab will certainly kill Moby Dick.

Indeed, the characters are bound by. An additional harbinger of doom found in Moby Dick occurs when a hawk takes Ahab's hat, thus recalling the story of Tarquin and how his wife Tanaquil predicted that it was a sign that he would become king of Rome. The purpose of these omens throughout Moby Dick is to create a sense of inevitability. Even from the beginning of the journey the Pequod's mission is doomed by Captain Ahab, and the invocation of various omens serves to endow this mission with a sense of grandeur and destiny.

It is no suicide mission that Ahab undertakes, but a grand folly of hubris. Chapter 1 — Loomings: The novel begins with the famous statement by the book's narrator: "Call me Ishmael. He does so because he may be paid and because it affords him wholesome exercise and pure sea air.

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Analysis: The novel Moby Dick is one of the most ambitious in American literature, one which encompasses several genres and styles of writing. It is a travelogue, a character study and an allegory. Linking each of the episodes of the novel and bridging these various genres is the character Ishmael, the narrator of the novel and the lens from which the reader views the action of Melville's work. The first chapter establishes Ishmael as a prototype, a working man and observer who claims no defining characters; his simplicity is a key to the novel, for it places Ishmael as an everyman whose character is subordinate to the other characters and occurrences of the novel.

The name Ishmael, however, imbues the novel with religious undertones that will prevail through the course of Moby Dick. Analysis: The religious undertones of Moby Dick continue through this second chapter, in which Ishmael travels from inn to inn, searching for an appropriate place to stay for the night. This is a subtle reference that parallels the travels of Mary and Joseph, as Ishmael finally finds a place where he may stay, in equally questionable accommodations.

There is a long, limber portentous, black mass of something hovering in the center of a picture of a painting there; it bears a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish, but in fact represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane. On the opposite wall is an array of monstrous clubs and spears. The innkeeper tells Ishmael that he must sleep two in a bed, which he dislikes and will do so only if the innkeeper has no other place for him.

The innkeeper tells Ishmael about the ship harpooner, a "dark-complexioned" man with whom Ishmael will share a bed. Ishmael suggests that he will sleep on a bench instead, but it is too uncomfortable and he must sleep in a bed. Ishmael goes into the harpooner's room, where there are fishhooks and harpoons. The harpooner, who is from New Zealand, appears dangerous. The harpooner, Queequeg, undresses to show his tattooed chest and arms, and has a tomahawk with him. Ishmael gets in bed with him only after the landlord makes him stash his tomahawk away.

Ishmael never slept better in his life. Analysis: Even long before Ishmael begins his whaling voyage, Melville creates a portentous atmosphere that foreshadows great tragedy and hardship. Even the name of the innkeeper, Peter Coffin, is a reminder of death. The painting in the Spouter Inn is of particular significance; it shows a picture that could either be a ship or a gigantic fish, thus blurring the lines between the two different entities. This suggests that the difference between the whaling ship and the titular character of the novel, the great whale, are in some sense one and the same.

The character Queequeg lends himself to several different symbolic interpretations. As an aborigine from New Zealand, Queequeg represents the uncivilized and the foreign. His particular heritage is relatively unimportant to the novel; it is more important to note that he represents the 'other,' a person from a different heritage from the conventional American society which Ishmael may in some sense represent.

Yet despite Queequeg's background, he proves himself to be more 'civilized' and refined than originally suggested; his reputation as a savage stems primarily from the tales of the innkeeper and not from any direct behavior. Chapter 4 — The Counterpane: Ishmael awakes to find Queequeg's arm thrown over him in an affectionate manner. Ishmael finally awakens Queequeg, who dresses by first putting on his hat and his boots.

Queequeg is a creature in a transition state, "neither caterpillar nor butterfly. Analysis: Melville portrays the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael as a perverse romance, placing the two men in bed together and even sleeping with one another in an affectionate manner. The intent of this is not to serious suggest homoeroticism, but rather to demonstrate that the patterns of behavior demonstrated by Queequeg are unconventional, as when he dresses himself by first putting on his boots. The comparison of Queequeg to a creature in the state of metamorphosis is apt, showing him to be a person in the state of transition, neither entirely part of a savage world nor fully accepted and integrated into civilized society.

Chapter 5 — Breakfast: Ishmael goes to the bar-room, which is now full of boarders who are nearly all whalemen. There are some men who appear more at ease in manner because of their travels, although Ledyard and Mungo Park, the great New England and Scotch travelers, respectively, possess the least assurance of the group. Queequeg sits at the head of the table, having brought his harpoon to the breakfast table and using it during the meal. Analysis: Melville continues to establish Queequeg as a combination of civilization and savagery. While Ishmael respects his behavior at breakfast, in which Queequeg somehow assumes a position as the head of the table, Queequeg nevertheless brings his harpoon to the breakfast table, considered an obvious breach of polite behavior.

Chapter Six — The Street: During his first daylight stroll through New Bedford, Ishmael sees around the docks the queerest looking nondescripts from foreign parts. In New Bedford, fathers reportedly give whales for dowers to their daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a piece. Analysis: This chapter is significant primarily in order to establish the predominance of whaling in the New Bedford community, in which the whales are considered prizes significant enough to be a dowry.

Melville also establishes New Bedford as a microcosm of society in which all races and classes are present, thus suggesting a larger applicability of the story outside of its more specific locale. There are numerous memorials to whalemen lost at sea. Queequeg has a gaze of incredulous curiosity in this chapel, and is the only one to notice Ishmael's entrance into the chapel.

Ishmael regards these memorials with deep feelings, knowing that the same fate may be his own, but he somehow grows merry again. There is death in the business of whaling, but he thinks that we have mistaken the matter of Life and Death, and that persons are like oysters observing the sun, thinking the thickest water to be the thinnest of air.

Analysis: The Whaleman's Chapel serves as yet another reminder of the high mortality rate at sea, foreshadowing the inevitable hardship that will ensue. Whaling takes on a greater significance in this chapter, representing matters of human mortality and the afterlife. The analogy that. Melville uses to show the mistaken human perspective on mortality is significant, for he uses the perspective of the ocean and of the whale to show the errors in human thought.

Chapter 8 — The Pulpit: Ishmael has not been seated long in the chapel when Father Mapple, the famous preacher, enters. He was once a sailor and a harpooner, but had dedicated his life to the ministry for several years. Father Mapple enjoys a wide reputation for sincerity and sanctity, so Ishmael cannot suspect him of any mere stage tricks. On the front of the pulpit is the likeness of a ship's bluff bows and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship's fiddle-headed beak. Ishmael wonders what the meaning could be, for the pulpit is the earth's foremost part; all the rest comes from in its rear, and the pulpit leads the world.

According to Ishmael, "the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete, and the pulpit is its prow. The pulpit from which Mapple preaches also relates whaling to spiritual matters. Melville explicitly makes the comparison between the world and a ship on a voyage, thus preparing the reader to relate the actual ship on its impending voyage to the world in general. He claims that it is a lesson to sinful men and to God, for Jonah flouts God with the sin of disobedience, thinking that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign.

Father Mapple recounts the terrors in Jonah's soul. The lesson of Jonah is to preach the Truth in the face of Falsehood, even if this truth may be appalling. Analysis: Father Mapple's sermon continues to set the tone for the novel, making the obvious comparison between the story of Jonah and the whale and the impending conflict between Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. Several chapters before the character of Ahab is even introduced, Melville prepares the reader for a comparison between Ahab and Jonah, for both characters flout God through their arrogance and disobedience against God.

The story that Father Mapple recounts of Jonah is a long detail of hardship and pain, thus foreshadowing the difficult voyage of the Pequod, and constructs Jonah to be a complex man gripped by terrors in his soul, another important comparison between Jonah and Captain Ahab. Other than the comparisons between Jonah and the as yet not introduced Ahab, Father Mapple's sermon is also significant for its final instruction to preach the truth in the face of falsehood, even if that truth may be very difficult to take.

This part of the sermon relates most directly to Ishmael himself, as the narrator of the novel. This suggests that Ishmael must tell some unspeakable and harsh truth about his voyage with Captain Ahab, no matter how unpleasant that truth may be. In general, Father Mapple's sermon continues to imbue the novel with a striking religious theme.

This religious atmosphere is one with a particular emphasis on pain and suffering which leads to redemption; it is a harsh and brutal form of spirituality the conforms to the brutal setting and nature of the novel. Melville relates spirituality to intense struggle, thus giving the voyage that will be the heart of the novel a larger significance.

Ishmael notices that, despite Queequeg's marred face, he did not have a disagreeable countenance. He even reminds Ishmael of George Washington, "cannibalistically developed. Ishmael no longer feels threatened by the world, but instead feels as if "the soothing savage had redeemed it. That night they join in a pagan ceremony together, despite Ishmael's Christian upbringing. Ishmael questions the use of worship and the will of God, to do to a fellow man what one would have done to him, and thus decided to turn "idolator.

In this chapter, Melville explores the idea that within the uncivilized Queequeg there is a greater sense of civility and honor. Ishmael nearly idolizes Queequeg, comparing him to George Washington and finding that Queequeg has given him a sense of serenity and ease. Melville does explore the idea that there is some perversity in the relationship between the two men, at least in the estimation of Ishmael, who worries that he is engaging in a pagan, idolatrous activity. Melville does indicate a certain homoerotic element to the relationship between the two, even comparing the two men sleeping together to a husband and wife.

The anxiety that Ishmael feels concerning whether or not he is engaging in some sinful activity with Queequeg definitely lends to this interpretation as well. Yet Ishmael's musing on pagan activity demonstrate that he and the novel are moving past the strict Christian spiritualism that has dominated the novel and approaching a different religious interpretation. Ishmael, and by extension Melville, are questioning the idea of the will of God beyond strictly Christian tenets.

Chapter 11 — Nightgown : Queequeg and Ishmael lie in bed, napping at short intervals and often chatting. Upon opening his eyes, Ishmael finds that his strong repugnance to Queequeg smoking in bed begins to fade, for he now likes nothing better to have him smoking because he seems to full of serene household joy. Analysis: Melville continues to show the intense bond between Queequeg and Ishmael in this chapter, further continuing the analogy of marriage to demonstrate how Ishmael has become progressively more tolerant toward Queequeg.

This also suggests that Ishmael longs for a domestic life that he lacks as sailor, appreciating the intimacy that he shares with Queequeg as a replacement for a conventional household life. Chapter 12 — Biographical : Queequeg is a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. A Sag Harbor ship visited Queequeg's father's bay, and there he sought passage to Christian lands.

The captain threatened to throw Queequeg overboard, and suspended a cutlass over his naked wrists, but Queequeg did not relent. He was put among the sailors, but did not mind. He was motivated by a profound desire to learn among the Christians. Ishmael wonders why Queequeg did not propose going home and having a coronation, but he is fearful that Christians had unfitted him for ascending the undefiled throne of thirty pagan kings before him.

A harpoon had taken the place of a scepter for Queequeg. Queequeg intends to go to sea again in his old vocation. They resolve to go to Nantucket together. Analysis: Melville explores the distinction between savage and civilized through the biographical details concerning Queequeg, whose history suggests greater culture and civility than the Europeans with whom he comes in contact.

While the sailors believe Queequeg to be a savage, he instead proves to be a literal nobleman whose behavior is highly honorable in contrast to their brutality. The irony of Queequeg's tale is that, having traveled to America and lived among the supposedly civilized, he has in fact become defiled and unfit for his royal position; this calls into questions definitions of savagery and civilization, for Queequeg presumably becomes a savage to his people as he adopts more European customs.

Chapter 13 — Wheelbarrow : The boarders seem amused by the sudden friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg. They borrow a wheelbarrow, and start on their way to Nantucket. Queequeg tells a funny story about the first wheelbarrow Queequeg had ever seen, and how he did not know what to do with it. Ishmael and Queequeg board a schooner to Nantucket. On this schooner, a local bumpkin mocks Queequeg, who responds by pushing him back.

The bumpkin complains to the Captain that Queequeg is the devil, but the Captain merely. When the bumpkin is swept overboard when the mainsail breaks, Queequeg saves him and thus receives an apology from the captain. Queequeg seems to deserve a medal for his action, but behaves quite magnanimous. Analysis: The descriptions of Queequeg as an intensely honorable and admirable character become an actuality in this chapter, in which Queequeg saves a man from drowning despite the fact that he earlier mocked Queequeg.

He even behaves with dignity and great humility after doing so, refusing accolades for his bravery. Chapter 14 — Nantucket: Nantucket is a mere hillock and elbow of sand, all beach without a background. There is a wonderful traditional story of how the island was settled by the red-men when an eagle carried an infant Indian in his talons, and his parents followed the eagle in their canoes to the island, where they found the infant's skeleton.

Analysis: Melville frequently shifts styles throughout Moby Dick, veering from the narrative to explore different genres of writing. In this chapter, he indulges in writing a travelogue describing the history and locale of Nantucket. The purpose of this is somewhat experimental and purely informative, adding depth and shading to the setting of the novel without actually contributing to the narrative drive of the story.

Two pots hang from a tree near the inn, looking like a gallows. The Try Pots serves chowder for breakfast and dinner, and is paved with clamshells. Analysis: Melville deflates a great deal of the tension that he had been building throughout the previous chapters through Ishmael's self- aware observations concerning the various ill omens he has discerned. Ishmael notes the various signs of death, including the gravestones, the name of his previous innkeeper Peter Coffin , and the gallows imagery, as if performing a symbolic literary analysis of the novel as he narrates.

Nevertheless, this does make the reader explicitly aware of the death-related imagery that pervades the novel, muting its ominous, foreboding tone but still making the possibility of great pain and suffering inevitable. Chapter Sixteen 16 — The Ship : Queequeg had been diligently consulting Yojo, the name of his black little god, in preparation for selecting their craft. There are three ships up for three-year voyages: the Devil-Dam, the Tit-bit, and the Pequod. The Pequod is named after a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians. The Pequod is a ship of the old school, rather small and with an old fashioned claw-footed look.

The Captain was once Peleg, now retired after many years. Ishmael introduces himself to Peleg, who is suspicious because Ishmael has no whaling experience. Peleg tells Ishmael that Ahab is now captain of the ship, and he has only one leg, for the other was lost by a whale. Peleg and Bildad, both Quakers, are owners of the boat, and are "fighting Quakers.

Bildad is the "queerest old Quaker" he ever saw. Peleg and Bildad negotiate the lay share of the profits for the voyage, and Ishmael demands the three-hundredth lay. Peleg and Bildad argue with one another about how much of the lay they should offer, and their argument nearly leads to violence between the two. After Bildad leaves, Ishmael signs the paper and asks to see Captain Ahab. Peleg describes him as a queer man, but a good one, "grand, ungodly, god-like. Before even meeting Ahab, Ishmael feels a sympathy and a sorrow for him.

Analysis: The most significant aspect of this chapter is the introduction of Ahab, who is the central character and the primary focus of the novel, despite his mysterious and long-delayed appearance. Long before Ahab actually interacts with Ishmael and the other characters, Melville establishes him as an imposing and tragic figure, deserving of sympathy and sorrow. Most of the details surrounding Ahab contain some element of legend, such as the story that he lost one of his legs, and Melville further creates a tension between Ahab's supposed grandeur and his more fearsome qualities.

Peleg describes him as simultaneously ungodly and godlike, thus suggesting that the dynamic between these sides of Ahab's personality will form the primary internal struggle of Moby Dick. Melville additionally continues the Biblical allusions that dominate the character names; here the name Ahab describes a king who turns vile, suggesting that the Ahab of this novel will be a similarly conflicted leader.

While Ahab is the central character of the novel, Melville introduces in this chapter several minor characters who add shading to the novel. The "fighting Quakers" Bildad and Peleg continue the relationship between whaling and religion, incorporating their religious tradition into their merchant work ethic. Yet, as Queequeg's consultation of his god demonstrates, this relationship between religion and whaling is not specifically Christian; the relationship is more general and related to basic spirituality than to any particular sect. Chapter 17 — The Ramadan : Queequeg's Ramadan, or Fasting and Humiliation, continues all day, so Ishmael does not disturb him until night.

Ishmael considers how foolish some religious traditions are, whether Presbyterian or Pagan. When Ishmael returns to his room, he finds it locked, and panics because he sees that Queequeg's harpoon is missing. He makes Mrs. Hussey unlock the door there is some suspicion that Queequeg has committed suicide , but they find Queequeg inside, calm and self-collected, holding his Yojo idol on his head and not saying a word. Queequeg does not speak for the entire day, until finally he presses his forehead against Ishmael's and declares that his Ramadan is over.

Ishmael suggests to Queequeg that fasts are nonsense, bad for the health and useless for the soul. Ishmael believes that fasting makes the body and the spirit cave in. Analysis: Although Herman Melville has approached matters of religious belief with a directness and seem approval as a significant part of human existence, he still remains quite critical of some aspects of religious belief. This chapter illustrates the belief espoused by Ishmael that religious practices are in some sense odd and in many instances detrimental; the message appears to be that spiritual practices should be, in a very distinct sense, useful, and that practices such as fasting have direct negative consequences.

Ishmael relates the possibility that Queequeg has committed suicide to his religious beliefs, and cites experience to show that those religions with the most harsh practices are those whose followers become sickly in mind and in temperament. The greatest argument refuting Ishmael's claim is the very character of Queequeg himself. As the most poised and noble of the characters in the novel, Queequeg demonstrates the judgment and temperament that contradicts the idea of sickness and ill-humor as promoted by Ishmael.

Chapter 18 — His Mark : Captain Peleg gruffly tells Ishmael that no cannibals such as Queequeg can go aboard unless they previously produce their papers. Ishmael finally says that Queequeg belongs to the same ancient catholic church as all do, the congregation of the world. Peleg makes Queequeg, whom he calls Quohog, write his name, and he signs using the infinity symbol, an exact counterpart of a figure tattooed on his arm. Analysis: The idea of naming is a significant theme throughout Moby Dick, for each of the odd names of the novel has some significance, usually biblical.

Melville has established a strong relationship between the name of many characters and the characters themselves Ishmael, Peter Coffin. In Moby Dick, names serve as a key to the character, more than just an identifying mark and rather a key to their respective personalities. For Queequeg, his name as he writes it is literally part of him, tattooed on his arm. Therefore the assumption that Queequeg cannot be Christian because of his name and the mispronunciation of his name as "Quohog" symbolizes a loss of identity on his part by the estimation of Peleg.

Chapter 19 — The Prophet : A stranger passes Ishmael and Queequeg and asks them whether they have signed the articles, and whether this means that they have signed their souls. He then asks if they have souls at all to sell. The stranger asks if they have met Old Thunder Captain Ahab. Ishmael says that Captain Ahab is ill, but the strangers says that when Captain Ahab is all right, then his left arm which he. The stranger tells them that Ahab lost his leg. The stranger introduces himself as Elijah, then Ishmael and Queequeg leave him.

Analysis: The character Elijah has a small but significant role in the novel, serving much as his biblical counterpart as a prophet for Ishmael as he begins his voyage. The whaling voyage appears more and more ominous thanks to the appearance of this prophet, who indicates that Ishmael has sold his soul by agreeing to undertake the three year voyage on the Pequod. Also, the mythic connotations to Ahab continue in this chapter with the reference to him as "Old Thunder," an allusion to the Norse God of War.

Chapter 20 — All Astir : There is great activity aboard the Pequod, as the sails are mended and preparations for departure come to a close. The sailors store the Pequod with the food and amenities necessary for the three year voyage. Ishmael only half fancies being committed to so long a voyage, but prepares to sail the next morning.

Analysis: The preparations for departure underscore the vast nature of the voyage on the Pequod. This is no short-term commitment that Ishmael and Queequeg are making; they are sacrificing three years of their lives for this voyage, and Ishmael only has a partial commitment to the journey. The ambivalence that Ishmael feels toward the voyage affects his narrative; by making his view of the voyage unclear, Melville makes him an even more impartial narrator rather than one with a specific and identifiable agenda.

Chapter 21 — Going Aboard : Elijah sees Ishmael again, and asks him if he is going aboard, then attempts to detain him. However, Ishmael and Queequeg board the Pequod, where they find everything quiet. Ishmael believes that he sees shadows on board, and he and Queequeg awake the chief mate of the ship, Starbuck. The crew comes on board in twos and threes, while Captain Ahab remains invisible to everyone within his cabin.

Analysis: The second appearance of Elijah reinforces his importance as a prophetic character as well as the grave undertones of the voyage, solidifying his claims of impending tragedy upon the Pequod. Melville creates a sense of ominous tension through the stillness and quiet of this chapter; the nearly silent ship and the seemingly dead Starbuck create the mood of a cemetery or crypt. Melville compounds this through the shadows that Ishmael sees, which contain elements of a ghost story. In addition, the religious connotations to the novel continue as the crew boards the ship; their arrival in pairs recalls the story of Noah and the Ark, as if the crew were the last remnants of a world they are leaving behind.

Chapter 22 — Merry Christmas : Peleg asks Starbuck whether everything is all right, and orders him to get Captain Ahab. Peleg gives orders to the crew, while Bildad scolds the crew for profanity. Bildad paces about the deck, somewhat loath to leave the boat on such a long voyage. Peleg takes the departure more "like a philosopher," but despite this there is still some regret as he and Bildad board their boat and leave the Pequod for the shore as it sails out to sea. Analysis: The title of this novel is ironic, for it is the only significant mention of the holiday throughout the chapter; upon boarding the Pequod, such details as dates and holidays lose their significance as the crew removes themselves from normal society.

Yet the characters Peleg and Bildad contribute to the notion that this removal from society is somewhat regrettable. Despite their return to the comforts of land, Bildad and Peleg are mournful that they must leave the Pequod. Chapter 23 — The Lee Shore : When the Pequod thrusts into the waves, Ishmael sees Bulkington, a dangerous man just landed from a four years' dangerous voyage whom he had seen at the Coffin inn.

The land seems "scorching" to Bulkington's feet, and Ishmael begins to think about how "in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God," and thus it is better to die at sea than on land. Analysis: Both this and the previous chapter posit the idea that a certain class of persons exist who operate better on the sea than on land, as shown by Bildad and Peleg, both regretful that they must leave the Pequod for shore, and Bulkington, who seemed unnatural when Ishmael saw him on land at the Coffin inn.

Ishmael attributes this to a certain psychological attainment, claiming that truth belongs at sea for its indefinite quality and flexibility. For Melville, the sea represents a degree of mystery and abstraction compared to the more definite atmosphere of dry land.

Chapter 24 — The Advocate : The business of whaling is not considered by those in the liberal professions and is largely unnoticed, likely because others believe that the vocation amounts to a butchering sort of business. Yet this is an important business, as shown by the Dutch, who have admirals of their whaling fleets, or the lavish expenses bestowed on whaling fleets by Louis XVI. Ishmael refutes the claim that the whaler has no famous author or chronicler by citing Job, who wrote the first account of the Leviathan.