Chapter Summaries – I


Etymology—The Quarter-Deck—Sunset—Does the Whale Diminish?Ahab’s Leg—Epilogue

 

EtymologyExtractsLoomingsThe Carpet-BagThe Spouter-InnThe CounterpaneBreakfastThe StreetThe ChapelThe PulpitThe SermonA Bosom FriendNightgownBiographicalWheelbarrowNantucketChowderThe ShipThe RamadanHis MarkThe ProphetAll AstirGoing AboardMerry ChristmasThe Lee ShoreThe AdvocatePostscriptKnights and SquiresKnights and SquiresAhabEnter Ahab; to Him, StubbThe PipeQueen MabCetologyThe SpecksynderThe Cabin-TableThe Mast-HeadThe Quarter-Deck

Etymology

Subsequent chapter of “Extracts” provided by a sub-sub(ordinate) librarian; the “Etymology” comes down from a little higher up—the “Usher” would have been an underling or assistant to a schoolmaster—this “late […] consumptive […] pale […] threadbare” specimen is a grammar instructor —etymology of the word WHALE, whose letter “h,” the quotation from Richard Hackluyt (1552-1616) tells us, “almost alone makes up the significance of the word”—Swedish and Dutch origins of the word trace it to the root “hval”—(“h” originally had precedence)—common thread of the Swedish, Dutch, and Germanic origins of the word, according to Webster’s and Richardson’s dictionaries: association of “whale” with “roundness,” “rolling,” and wallowing—does this conjure the image of the dying whale repeatedly described later in the book, and the vaulted interior of its skeleton, more than the action of the live whale swimming?—ends on global, linguistic taxonomy of the word whale in 13 languages—reminds of that late Usher’s handkerchief, “embellished with all the known nations of the world”—was this what he used to dust his old grammars or what he used to blow his nose after?
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Extracts

A sub-librarian would be an underling, assistant to a librarian, so what is this sub-sub?—something even lower—a “burrower,” a “grub-worm,” a miner in old, musty volumes for “whatever vague allusions to whales”—this “poor devil” is no doubt Melville himself (or perhaps some previous incarnation of the man—the narrator spends the last long paragraph divorcing himself from this lowly, thankless toil: “by how much the more pains ye take to please the world, by so much the more shall ye for ever go thankless!”—to the Extracts: loosely arranged in chronological order, starting with the ancient, primarily biblical references, ending with quotations from works more nearly Melville’s contemporaries—chief among his paternal sources: the Bible (as said), Milton’s Paradise Lost, Edmund Burke, Obed Macy—chief among his fraternal sources: William Scoresby, Thomas Beale, Owen Chase (of the Essex)—naturalists of note extracted: Cuvier and Darwin—paternal litterateurs extracted: Rabelais, Shakespeare, Spenser, Pope, Cowper—fraternal litterateurs extracted: Hawthorne, Cooper—and, fraternity be damned!, Elizabeth Oakes Smith (one of the only women cited in the extracts)—miscellaneous: Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Webster, New England Primer, Nantucket Whale Song—various reports of nautical voyages, mutinies, and whaling expeditions also cited—but how are we to view all these extracts en masse?—“these extracts,” Melville writes, “are solely valuable or entertaining, as affording a glancing bird’s eye view of what has been promiscuously said, thought, fancied, and sung of Leviathan, by many nations and generations, including our own”— just think of this as the Pinterest board of a very well-read, manic fellow who’s really into whales.
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Loomings

“Call me Ishmael.”—a wordy man from the isle of Manhattoes, who goes to sea every time he starts to feel the need to knock the hats off the heads of landlubbers—”This is my substitute for pistol and ball,” he says—is he saving himself or killing himself by going to sea?—everyone else is flocking to the water—”Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? […] There is magic in it.”—the “thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries” puts Ishmael in mind of “that story of Narcissus“—Ishmael never goes to sea as a passenger, nor as a captain, cook, or anyone that either has to pay (“perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us“) or has any particular responsibility—always a man before the mast—totally okay with taking orders from a captain because “everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view”—basically, everyone has a boss (whether ship captain, God, or other)—other reason given for his voyage is fascination with the great whale—has never been on a whaling voyage before but is pumped up to go—ever so briefly looms that great hooded phantom.
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The Carpet-Bag

Ishmael packs up his “old carpet-bag” (old school cheap luggage) and heads to New Bedford—by the time he got there “on a Saturday night in December,” the last ship to Nantucket had sailed—Ishmael will only sail from Nantucket because he wants the original whaling experience, not the more corporatized one that comes from New Bedford—goes in search of a cheap place to stay for the night—wanders the black streets and stumbles upon a church full of “[a] hundred black faces” called “The Trap”— the inns are mostly ocean/sailing/fishing-themed: The Crossed Harpoons, Sword-Fish Inn, etc.—chooses the somewhat dilapidated Spouter-Inn, owner Peter Coffin—Ishmael takes a moment to indulge in some self-loathing—”Coffin?—Spouter?”—goes on a bit about the cold, too—”that tempestuous wind Euroclydon kept up a worse howling than it ever did about poor Paul’s tossed craft“—recalls some obscure quotation, from “an old writer” of whose works he possesses the only copy, about the cold and about being inside looking out at it through the frost vs. being outside and feeling it—Ishmael notices some poor soul sleeping out in the cold and reflects on the fact “that Lazarus should lie stranded there on the curbstone before Dives” before scrapping off his frosted feet and stepping inside the Spouter-Inn.
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The Spouter-Inn

“Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn…”—on one wall there’s an old, disheveled painting that’s hard to make out, but Ishmael decides it represents a half-foundered ship in a hurricane and an “exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, […] in the enormous act of impaling himself on the three mast-heads”—the other wall of the Spouter-Inn is full of giant, old whaling implements—the den area is dim and has shelves of dusty trinkets from past voyages—there’s a bar set inside of a whale’s jaw bone with a bartender named Jonah—Here Ishmael spies “a number of young seamen gathered about a table, examining by a dim light divers specimen of skrimshander“—Coffin informs Ishmael that he’ll have to share a bed with a harpooneer, a “dark complexioned chap” who only likes rare steaks (spoiler alert: he’s a cannibal) —a crew just returned from a voyage arrives at the inn and proceeds to drink, except for one aloof sailor named Bulkington who soon leaves—Ishmael tries to sleep on a knotty, narrow old bench but decides to learn more about his possible bunkmate—Coffin says he’s out “selling his head” (later revealed to be a broken, shrunken head)—Ishmael goes into the room and snoops around his new roommate’s things before settling into bed—Ishmael is restless—the heavily tattooed (face and all) harpooneer named Queequeg shows up and worships a small idol he carries—looks to Ishmael like a “three days’ old Congo baby”—Ishmael says something and is threatened by the startled Queequeg’s tomahawk-pipe—Coffin steps in and they simmer down—more proper introductions are made—Ishmael has the best sleep of his life.
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The Counterpane

Queequeg and Ishmael wake up spooning—Queequeg’s arm, because tattooing and various hues of sun tan from many voyages at sea, appears to blend with the patchwork quilt (aka, counterpane)—Ishmael’s “sensations [are] strange”; he’s reminded of a childhood memory—he was scolded by his stepmother, “who, somehow or other, was all the time whipping [him] or sending [him] to bed supperless” (#orphan?), for trying to crawl up the chimney like he’d seen a chimney-sweep  do—as punishment he was sent to bed at two o’clock in the afternoon on June 21—gets in bed contemplating the eternal-seeming 16 hours that have to pass before he can leave his room—awoke from “troubled nightmare of a doze,” his arm hanging down from the bed; it felt like a phantom hand was holding onto it—now, “take away the awful fear” he experienced as a child, and this is the same sensation he experiences waking up beneath Queequeg’s arm—Ishmael can’t move—turns himself to discover the tomahawk-pipe is in bed with them, “as if it were a hatchet-faced baby”—finally manages to rouse Queequeg by yelling at him—After Queequeg remembers who Ishmael is, he gets out of bed and dresses by putting his hat and boots on first while Ishmael stares—Queequeg gets under the bed to put on his boots! (what’s that about?)—Ishmael tells him to put pants on because the people in the building across the street can see—Queequeg washes everything but his face—shaves with his harpoon—proudly marches out of the room, “sporting his harpoon like a marshal’s baton.”
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Breakfast

Ishmael goes downstairs deciding not to hold a grudge against Coffin for “skylarking with [him]” about Queequeg—breakfast is filled with burly sailors, nearly all of them whalemen—Ishmael judges how long each sailor has been on land based on his tan—”But who could show a cheek like Queequeg?”—everyone is socially awkward and silent, behavior which surprises Ishmael in these men “who have seen the world”—Queequeg, by contrast, is totally at his ease, using his harpoon to grapple his rare beefsteaks—Afterwards, Queequeg smokes his tomahawk-pipe and Ishmael goes for a stroll around town.
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The Street

Imagine walking out of a door in a seaport town and seeing not only sailors everywhere but cannibals, savages, and other “wild specimens”—Welcome to New Bedford, a “land of oil,” and “patrician like houses,” where the women “bloom like their own red roses”—marveling at the sites, Ishmael makes fun of the men “as green as the Green Mountains” (referencing the newness of the men, their change in profession from lands of higher elevation, and their ignorance of the oceans) and the “bumpkin dandies” (country folk all dressed up to plunge headlong into the tempest)—the pride of New Bedford revolves around the opulence of the town and the variety that the town has to offer, all of which it owes to the whale-fishery—”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 harpooneed and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea.”—without whaling, New Bedford “would this day have been in as howling condition as the coast of Labrador”—Bottom line: New Bedford is bomb dot com, but Ishmael still doesn’t want to sail from here—#stillnonantucket.
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The Chapel

An eerie storm blows in as Ishmael makes his way to a Whaleman’s Chapel—”few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot”—inside the Chapel Ishmael finds a gloomily silent audience: “a scattered congregation of sailors, and sailor’s wives and widows”—“Frigid inscriptions” on “marble tablets” reading “To the Memory of…”—settling in, Ishmael is surprised to find Queequeg in attendance—Ishmael ponders the rituals that the living perform to the dead, and how much more strange and strained are the rituals for those poor souls “who have placelessly perished without a grave”—“In what census of living creatures, the dead of mankind are included; why is it that a universal proverb says of them, that they tell no tales, though containing more secrets than the Goodwin Sands”—the congregation sits grief-stricken, silently mourning its dead, but its grief is not shared, communal: “each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable”—then it occurs to Ishmael: “oh snap, I might die during this whaling voyage” (ya think?)—“Oh well,” he concludes. “In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.”
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The Pulpit

“[T]he famous Father Mapple” enters the chapel, soaking wet (Ishmael attributes his maritime history as the cause of his not carrying an umbrella) —“a sailor and a harpooneer in his youth,” who had “for many years past […] dedicated himself to the ministry”—he ascends to the pulpit, which is designed much like a cross-section of a ship, side ladder and all, sticking out of the wall—Father Mapple scurries up the rope ladder to the pulpit and pulls it up behind him, isolating himself in this “lofty Ehrenbreitstein, with a perennial well of water within the walls”—Ishmael perceives the “act of physical separation” as signifying a “spiritual withdrawl […] from all outward worldly ties and connexions”—the rest of the chapel shows the influence of “the same sea-taste”—there’s a large painting depicting a tossed ship in stormy waters—”the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship’s fiddle-headed beak“—how fitting and all full of meaning, Ishmael reflects; the pulpit is the foremost part of God’s creation—“The world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.”—the ocean shapes every aspect of life in New Bedford, and this is shown even in worship.
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The Sermon

Whether on water or land this town is always at sea—Father Mapple starts his sermon barking orders like a captain—his prayers, hymns, and biblical teachings all revolve around maritime themes—he offers an opening prayer “so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea”—from the opening hymn: “The ribs and terrors in the whale / Arched over me a dismal gloom […] He bowed his ear to my complaints / No more the whale did me confine”—the sermon begins: “Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the chapter of Jonah—‘And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah’”—this story might be one of the smallest in the Bible, but it’s the biggest in New Bedford—everyone’s with Jonah in the stomach of the whale—“We sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us!”—Father Mapple draws out subtleties of Jonah’s story that no one accustomed to the sea would ever overlook or no landlubber would ever notice—since Jonah was boarding the ship to flee God, he had no personal belongings or friends to wave him off—sketchy—the people of New Bedford would have noticed—think of someone red flagged at an airport for boarding a plane with no personal items—#hecanbenoinnocent—Father Mapple continues to tell the story of Jonah as only a seafarer would or could—in conclusion, Father Mapple explains the relevance of the story of Jonah to not just all sinners, his congregation, but especially to him, “as a pilot of the living God”—overall message of the sermon: “preach the Truth to the face of the Falsehood” and “acknowledge no law or lord, but The Lord his God”—”woe to him who […] while preaching to others is himself a castaway”—Father Mapple slowly waves a benediction, kneels, covers his face with his hands and is left alone in the Chapel as the congregation files out.
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A Bosom Friend

Ishmael returns to the Spouter-Inn—Queequeg notices Ishmael’s return but ignores it—he whittles away at his idol’s nose a bit and then starts counting the pages of a book—stopping on every 50 pages (the highest he can count, Ishmael guesses) to appreciate the magnitude of the volume by the number of 50 pages it contained—Ishmael pays scrupulous attention to the man: “savage,” marred face, inviting, lots of tattoos, simple, honest heart, deep dark eyes, tokens of spirit, friendly—“He looked like a man who had never cringed or never had a creditor”—shaved head and forehead shows his emotion—phrenologically excellent head—Queequeg’s head = General Washington’s head, “cannibalistically developed”—Ishmael finds Queequeg’s lack of attention to him unfair—Queequeg doesn’t talk to the other seamen but is  rather “content with his own companionship”—Ishmael begins to feel a softening for Queequeg and tries to talk to him—uses signs, noises, and hints for communication—they talk about the night before—agree to sleep together again that night—have a social smoke from the tomahawk-pipe—smoking bonds the men—Queequeg approaches Ishmael and makes the motions to “marry” him— “married” = bosom friends—#bromance—Later, Queequeg gives Ishmael the embalmed head and half his money (15 pieces of silver) as a gift—At bedtime, Queequeg conducts his nightly prayers and ritual—Ishmael thinks he should partake in worshiping the “negro” idol—problem: Ishmael is a good Christian, not supposed to put any god before the one God (as per the First Commandment)—argument: what is worship? (why would God be jealous of a little piece of wood?); worship = to do the will of God; the will of God, the Bible says, is to do unto others as…—Ishmael decides to worship with Queequeg—#idolator?—then they go to bed, “a cosy, loving pair,” but they do not “go to sleep without some little chat.”
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Nightgown

Ishmael and Queequeg lay in bed chatting and napping at intervals, their legs crossed over each other—#bromance—“so entirely sociable and free”—they sit up, awake before morning—”the clothes well tucked around us […] with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending over them, as if our knee-pans were warming-pans“—it takes some part of the body being cold for the whole to appreciate genuine warmth—Ishmael likes to keep his eyes closed—the self-imposed darkness helps him understand his comfort—Ishmael realizes he is now comfortable with Queequeg smoking in bed—“strange what love can make you comfortable with”—Queequeg relates his personal history.
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Biographical

Queequeg, it is revealed, is a native of Kokovoko—island in the South Pacific presumably, but it’s not down on any map (“true places never are”)—his father = high chief; his uncle = high priest; his aunts = wives of great warriors—Queequeg is royalty in his homeland—bravely and hilariously argued for passage on a Sag Harbor whaleship that came by Kokovoko—wanted to see more of the world than his native land—learns the ways of a whaleman—”like Czar Peter content to toil in the shipyards of foreign cities Quuequeg disdained no seeming ignominy“—initially excited to learn about Christendom, cherishing the hope to thereby better lead his people one day, he was let down by seeing what the sailors did with their wages when they disembarked in Sag Harbor, then in Nantucket (presumably drinking and whoring)—doesn’t feel pure enough to return home and assume his pagan throne after being with Christians for so long—plans to return one day—Queequeg, like Ishmael, just wants to go to sea again—for the time being, he’s a whaleman—the men agree to ship together—Ishmael thinks he can learn from Queequeg, since he knows nothing about whaling.
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Wheelbarrow

It’s Monday—Ishmael goes and settles his and Queequeg’s bill at the Spouter-Inn, but using the money Queequeg gave him the night before—Coffin, the landlord, and the other tenants find Ishmael and Queequeg’s new relationship funny—men such as these two are not normally seen as friends—the men borrow a wheelbarrow and head for the packet schooner that will take them to Nantucket—The Moss—Queequeg carries his own harpoons because he knows them and likes to recall what they have killed for him—tells Ishmael the story of the first time he encountered a wheelbarrow—he picked it up and carried it on his shoulders instead of pushing it—“Didn’t the people laugh?” Ishmael asks—Queequeg relates a story from his native island—a visitor to Kokovoko, a self-important Westerner, washed his hands in a sacred punch bowl because he saw a high priest do it and thought that was what the bowl was for—“Didn’t our people laugh?” Queequeg asks—Ishmael finally takes in the open sea—ocean = “common highway” for ships, which unlike a road or footpath leaves no records of slavish heels or hoofs—a green hand mockingly mimics Queequeg and gets busted—Queequeg grabs him up and flips him into the air— “the bumpkin” starts yelling for the “Capting!”—the Captain threatens Queequeg: “if you try any more of your tricks aboard here…,” but he should have been paying attention to his boat—the wind blows the rigging apart, causing the boom to swing wildly above deck—the bumpkin is knocked overboard—Queequeg secures the boom, getting the Moss out of jeopardy, then dives in the ocean and saves the bumpkin—everyone is grateful—Ishmael decides to stay close to Queequeg: “From that hour I clove to [him] like a barnacle”—“till poor Queequeg took his last long dive” (what?!)—Queequeg, meanwhile, doesn’t think his actions so impressive—he asks for a cup of water, takes a drink, redresses, and lights his tomahawk-pipe—“We cannibals must help these Christians.”
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Nantucket

The long awaited arrival to Nantucket, where the people are “so shut up , belted about, every way inclosed, surrounded, and made an utter island of by the ocean, that to their very chairs and tables small clams will sometimes be found adhering, as to the backs of sea turtles”—“the wondrous traditional story of how this island was settled by the red-men”—early Nantucketers foraged (“caught crabs and quohogs in the sand”), then came wading with nets for mackerel, then venturing out in boats, to “the navy of great ships on the sea” at the time of the book’s writing—at “everlasting war” with (gotta catch this adamant description of a whale) “the mightiest animated mass that has survived the flood; most monstrous and most mountainous! That Himmalehan, salt-sea Mastodon, clothed with such portentousness of unconscious power, that his very panics are more to be dreaded than his most fearless and malicious assaults!”—Nantucket sailors populate the globe, occupying waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans—the Nantucketer is a citizen of the sea, is he thus a citizen of the world, or rather is the world his own?—”two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer’s”—Nantucket is a sacred place for the sailor, the whaleman in particular—at nightfall it becomes serene, a place where the water and the sailor peacefully commune—“the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.”
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Chowder

Ishmael and Queequeg are the most adorable #bromance ever—On recommendation from Peter Coffin of the Spouter-Inn, the pair are in search of “Hosea Hussey of the Try Pots […] proprietor of one of the best kept hotels in all Nantucket, and moreover […] famous for his chowders.”—Ishmael and Queequeg are given terrible directions to this renowned chowder house, but eventually they find it—Ishmael once again opines on his death, this time dragging Queequeg into his sepulchral reveries as well—“The horns of the cross trees were sawed off on the other side, so that this old top mast looked not a little like gallows. Perhaps I was over sensitive to such impressions at this time, but I could not help staring at this gallows with a vague misgiving. A sort of crick was in my neck as I gazed up at the two remaining horns; yes, two of them, one for Queequeg, and one for me.”—Turns out Hosea is not at the Try Pots, but Mrs. Hussey is there to service the customers—Ishmael jokingly complains of a cold reception by Mrs. Hussey—he’s the rude one—Turns out he’s happy as a clam with the chowder that arrives—“Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me.”—Queequeg’s favorite “fishy” is the clam, too: that’s important—Ishmael runs an experiment and manages to place an order for more chowder, this time cod—”Fishiest of all places was the Try Pots”—even the milk tastes and smells like fish—Ishmael sees the Hussey’s dairy cow chewing up fish carcasses, with each hoof stuck in a fish head—yum—Near the end of the chapter, Mrs. Hussey takes Queequeg’s harpoon—she’s the woman of the house, and takes their breakfast requests—cod and clam and smoked herring—They’ll miss this variety of fare when they’re at sea.
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The Ship

Yojo instructs Queequeg that rather than choosing the boat together, it should be entirely Ishmael’s responsibility—Yojo is to Queequeg (and to Ishmael, too, no? #idolator?) as the magic conch is to Spongebob and Patrick—Ishmael takes seriously the task of choosing the boat, while Queequeg holds up with Yojo observing “some sort of Lent or Ramadan”—“a ship of the old school, rather small if anything, with an old fashioned claw footed look about her,” the Pequod, is Ishmael’s choice—she has seen many seas and storms—she boasts characteristics from almost every ocean-bordering land—Captain Peleg is the first person that Ishmael meets aboard, and he’s posted in “a strange sort of tent, or wigwam, pitched a little behind the main-mast”—Peleg gives Ishmael a hard time about being the right young man to board a whaleship—”Marchant service indeed!”—Peleg tells Ishmael to look in front of his face to see the world and continues to quiz him about his intention to go whaling—Finally convinced, Peleg leads Ishmael below deck to sign the papers—enter Captain Bildad—Peleg, Bildad, and Ahab too, “They are fighting Quakers; they are Quakers with a vengeance.“—Ishmael goes into Bildad’s history a bit: has the reputation as a “hard-hearted” captain and task master; makes one “go to work like mad”—presently Bildad is an older man hunched over his Bible—“He says he’s our man, Bildad”… “Dost thee?”… “I dost.”—Ishmael expects to be receive the 225-250th lay (share of the ship’s profits) but is initially offered the 777th and ends up receiving the 275th—Peleg and Bildad’s bickering erupts into a more physical confrontation—Ishmael asks (only now?) about whether or not it’s okay to bring a friend along, and Peleg and Bildad seem warm to it when they hear how many whales Queequeg’s bagged—Ishmael hangs back a bit to ask about the elusive Captain Ahab—doesn’t get much from Peleg: “‘He’s a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab.'”—It is revealed that he lost his leg but is not directly explained how—Peleg vaguely recounts the affair—“'[H]e was a little out of his mind for a spell’”—oh, Ahab is married… what?!—Peleg talks him up: “‘Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king!'”—Ishmael has misgivings about the history of Ahab’s name, and leaves soon after “full of thoughtfulness” and “a certain wild vagueness of painfulness concerning [Captain Ahab].”
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The Ramadan

Ishmael registers several remarks about his own exemplary religious tolerance—”I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these things”—however, in the same breath he says some of the rudest things here with respect to Queequeg’s religious observances—reducing his new friend’s ritual fasting to “humiliation” and his beliefs to “half-crazy conceits”—then follows an amusing scene where Ishmael freaks out upon returning to the Try Pots—Queequeg won’t answer the door, so Ishmael thinks, “Apoplexy! […] ‘apoplexy!’”—calls for an axe to break down the door—ends up crashing through it with his body—Queequeg maintains his statuesque posture, Yojo perched atop his head, for hours and through the night—giving in, finally, Ishmael takes his heavy bearskin jacket and throws it over Queequeg’s shoulders before going to bed—Queequeg does not move until the sun comes up the following day, when he returns to bed—There, Ishmael tries to persuade Queequeg to accept the absurd irrationality of ritual fasting—”all thoughts born of a fast must necessarily be half-starved”—doesn’t make any sense, and it’s unhealthy besides—Queequeg does not responded beyond a look of “condescending concern and compassion”—Ishmael is “lost to evangelical pagan piety”—they dress, eat breakfast, and make their way to the Pequod as if nothing has happened between them—”sauntering along, and picking [their] teeth with halibut bones.”
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His Mark

Queequeg and Ishmael finally arrive to the ship, where the first thing they hear is “no cannibals on board [this] craft, unless they previously produced their papers”—Captain Bildad: “He must show that he’s converted. Son of darkness…”—to Captains Bildad and Peleg Ishmael delivers a lengthy avowal of Queequeg’s spiritual character—Ishmael argues how the cannibal is a member of the First Congregational Church, the universal church of mankind—Peleg is impressed with Ishmael’s sermonizing—”Young man, you’d better ship for a missionary, instead of a fore-mast hand; I never heard a better sermon.”—but the men need more convincing—Queequeg dramatically demonstrates his skill as a harpooneer by striking a “glistening tar spot” out on the water—he throws his harpoon right over Bildad’s head!— Captain Peleg immediately gives Queequeg, or “Quohog,” the nineteenth lay and wants him to sign the ship’s muster role—on this paper Queequeg signs a cross, which is tattooed on his arm as well—Captains Bildad and Peleg have another heated debate on the virtues of pious whalemen—“‘He got so frightened about his plaguy soul, that he shrinked and sheered away from whales, for fear of after-claps, in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones.’”—“no time to think about death then”—Captain Peleg, at a time of great distress, was thinking about life—Captain Bildad has nothing else to say.
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The Prophet

A stranger approaches Ishmael and Queequeg and wants to know (he knows) whether they’ve shipped with the Pequod—he makes vague remarks about souls—”A soul’s a sort of fifth wheel to a wagon.”—Ishmael proposes they leave, but the stranger calls them back—he goes on into a long, irksome speech quizzing Ishmael and Queequeg over their knowledge of Captain Ahab—how he lost his leg, when he lost his leg, where, the silver calabash he spat into, and other mysterious innuendos—by this time Ishmael starts thinking that the man isn’t wrapped too tight—he brushes off the stranger’s suggestions; he knows “all about the loss of [Ahab’s] leg”—Ishmael: “if you have anything important to tell us, out with it. […] It is he easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.”—the stranger: “you are just the man for him—the likes of ye”—eventually they part ways, but not before Ishmael inquires after the stranger’s name—”Elijah.”—Elijah continues to follow Queequeg and Ishmael for a while at a distance—eventually he passes them again without saying another word to them—Ishmael is relieved—declares the man “a humbug.”
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All Astir

A day or two passes—”great activity” aboard the Pequod; “the ship’s preparations were hurrying to a close”Ishmael and Queequeg find out that they will be setting off on their three-year whaling voyage at any time—their personal belongings need to be brought on board—they decided to sleep ashore for their last night—everyone’s bustling to outfit the ship for the voyage—”spare everythings, almost, but a spare Captain and duplicate ship”—once it sets sail, the opportunities to restock the ship are rare indeed—meet Aunt Charity, who is Captain Bildad’s sister—”if she could help it, nothing should be found wanting in the Pequod, after once fairly getting to sea”—Ishmael describes her like a guardian angel—while Charity bustles about, Bildad checks items of a list and Peleg roars at everyone working on the ship —Ishmael briefly supplies that there should have been more foreboding in his heart for the mere fact that he had not yet laid eyes on Ahab—”the man who was to be the absolute dictator of [the voyage]” and thus Ishmael’s life for the next three years—in spite of his ominous feeling, Ishmael’s already too far in—the ship’s ready to set sail, so Ishmael and Queequeg make an early start the next morning so not to miss their ride.
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Going Aboard

Ishmael and Queeuqeg arrive at the wharf around 6am—Ishmael thinks he sees some shadowy sailors “running ahead” through the mist to board the Pequod, and he thinks the ship’s leavingonce again Elijah comes out of nowhere and starts nagging Ishmael and Queequeg—this time even Queequeg tells the ragged man to leave them alone: “go ‘way!”—Ishmael’s losing his cool as well: “Do you know, Mr. Elijah, that I consider you a little impertinent.”—[To Queequeg:] “He’s cracked.”—they try to leave, but Elijah detains them again, asks them if they saw the shadowy figures boarding the ship and tells them to find them again if they can—when they finally board the ship the make their way to the forecastle, where a rigger is sleeping—Ishmael’s still looking for the shadowy figures: “where could they have gone to?”—Queequeg and Ishmael enjoy a smoke over the rigger’s prostrate body—Queequeg sits on his butt and tells Ishmael about how people are used for furniture this way in Kokovoko—jokes about how easily he could kill the rigger with his tomahawk-pipe—”Perry easy, kill-e; oh! perry easy!”—Ishmael’s only half-amused—they exchange the pipe over the sleeping man until the forecastle is completely filled with smoke—the rigger wakes up, “Holloa! […] who be ye smokers?,” and gets back to work, citing the bustling efficiency of the first-mate, Starbuck—”Meanwhile Captain Ahab remained invisibly enshrined within his cabin.”
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Merry Christmas

Toward noon the riggers are dismissed and the Pequod sets sail—Captains Bildad and Peleg lead the ship out of port—they “were going it with a high hand on the quarterdeck, just as if they were to be joint-commanders at sea”—still no sign of Captain Ahab, but he’s given the order to set sail—Ishmael still thinks it’s odd but not unheard of that Ahab would remain below deck while getting the ship under weigh—Peleg springs into action and begins shouting commands to the crew like a crazed man—”he seemed to do most of the talking and commanding, and not Bildad”—orders that the tent be struck (taken down), which order is “the next thing to heaving up the anchor”— Bildad sits back, “as pilot,” singing a strain of psalmody hearkening to warmer times in the midst of the freezing Christmas cast-off—he has declared “no profane songs” be allowed especially when first setting out—his sister, Charity, has placed “a small choice copy of Watts in every seaman’s berth”—Ishmael is working feverishly, when Peleg comes booming by and gives him a #kick on his backside—“Is that the way they heave in the merchant service?”—With Peleg running all over the ship in “the most frightful manner” (“Captain Peleg,” thinks Ishmael, “must have been drinking something to-day.”), Ishmael’s last comfort is Bildad’s singing, “spite of his seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay”—Sweet fields beyond the sweeling flood, / Stand dressed in living green…—the chapter closes with the reluctant departure from the Pequod of Captains Bildad and Peleg, who head back to Nantucket—Bildad seems to barely be able to stand leaving; Peleg takes it “more like a philosopher,” “but for all his philosophy, there was a tear twinkling in his eye”—Peleg wishes everyone luck; Bildad gives last minute instructions, re: the boats, sail needles, the butter, and don’t kill whales on the Sabbath unless it’s “a fair chance”—Ishmael is now under the care of the unseen Captain—a transition from the safety of land and structured guidance of Captain Bildad to the uncertain openness of the sea and Ahab—”we gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the lone Atlantic.”
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The Lee Shore

A turning point in the book: land > sea—a “lee shore” is a coastline toward which a ship might be blown by the wind—the beginning of Ishmael’s life at sea aboard the Pequod—this turning point in the book is given shape by the character of Bulkington, who Ishmael sees standing at the helm of the Pequod as she makes for the Atlantic—”this six-inch chapter is the stoneless grave of Bulkington”—having just landed from a dangerous four-year voyage, Bulkington is setting out again—”The land seemed scorching to his feet.”—like a ship, Bulkington has limited need for landed existence—a quick touch down and back to sea is right for both—porting provides safety, comfort, and company, but it can also, Ishmael notes, prove disastrous: “one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and through”—the ship “fights ‘gainst the very winds that would fain blow her homeward”—like Bulkington, “seeks all the lashed sea’s landlessness again”—Ishmael’s mediation on the lee shore and Bulkington leads him to poetic effusions on this “mortally intolerable truth”: “that all deep earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore”—lee shore = threshold between land and sea = borderline between mortality and immortality—”in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God”—Doesn’t look like Bulkington’s going to make it back to port from the “howling infinite” this time, but he lives forever: “Up from the spray of they ocean-perishing—straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!”.
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The Advocate

Ishmael is “all anxiety” to correct the misconception of landsmen that whaling is “a rather unpoetical and disreputable pursuit”—to correct the injustice done to whalemen in this respect, Ishmael takes on the persona of an “advocate” (def.: “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy”)—whaling is “not accounted on a level with what are called the liberal professions”—whalemen are generally regarded as butchers, and butchers they are—but the butchery of whales is not so dirty a business as it is commonly made out to be—it’s a cleaner business than that of war, anyway, Ishmael points out—and to face down a sperm whale’s tail requires more bravery than facing down a whole battalion—”what are the comprehensible terrors of a man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God!”—anyone who burns an oil lamp, though, establishes a “shrine” to the whalemen’s glory—famous naval powers in world history have always had a stake in whaling—”the whalemen of America now outnumber all the rest of the banded whalemen in the world”—Ishmael makes an extensive list of all the ways in which whaling has proved the most “single peaceful influence” on the world—just peaceful, this worldly puissance?—“whaling may well be regarded as that Egyptian mother, who bore offspring themselves pregnant from her womb“—whaleships were the earliest explorers of the world’s unknown regions—“They may celebrate as they will the heroes of Exploring Expeditions, your Cooks, your Krusensterns; but I say that scores of anonymous Captains have sailed out of Nantucket, that were as great, and greater than your Cook and your Krusenstern.”—whaling spread commerce and democracy to Peru, Chile, and Bolivia—whaling made that “great America on the other side of the sphere,” Australia, too—if Japan is going to make itself more of a presence in the world’s affairs, then it will be thanks to the whale fishery—Ishmael goes on a bit more about whaling’s “aesthetically nobel associations”—its authors and chronichlers include Alfred the Great, who “took down the words of Other, the Norwegian whale-hunter”—“And who pronounced our glowing eulogy in Parliament? Who, but Edmund Burke!”—whalemen have good blood in their veins, too; better than royal blood, in fact, since Benjamin Franklin’s grandma was a founder of Nantucket!—whaling’s other claims to fame: by old English law, the whale is “a royal fish”; Roman generals were honored with the bones of whales; the constellation Cetus—”Drive down your hat in the presence of the Czar and take it off to Queequeg! No more!”—If Ishmael (Melville?) does anything worth while with his writing, it will be thanks to whaling (ya think?)—“if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. In my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honor and the glory to whaling”—Ishmael is in love with the idea of whaling and being a whalemen, and he does not consider this a cause for bemoaning a lack or loss of culture of education—”for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”
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Postscript

Exactly as the title suggests, this chapter’s an additional note to “The Advocate”—Ishmael throws in one last bit of speculative knowledge about whaling, while throwing another jab at Britons—Ishmael wonders what sort of oil anoints the heads of  kings and queens at their coronation ceremonies—he’s having a bit of fun: do we oil these heads of state like heads of lettuce? do we oil them, like machines, to make them run better? don’t we look down on folks who use too much hair-oil?—the only serious part of Ishmael’s postscript is this question: what sort of oil is used in these coronation ceremonies?—”certainly it cannot be olive oil, nor macassar oil, nor castor oil, nor bear’s oil, nor train oil, nor cod-liver oil”—it can only be sperm oil: “in its unmanufactured, unpolluted state, the sweetest of all oils”—thus another feather goes in the cap of the immodest whaleman: “Think of that, ye loyal Britons! we whalemen supply your kings and queens with coronation stuff!”—[NOTE: not sure about the recipe used in Ishmael’s day, but as recently as 2003, ambergris was at least an ingredient in the Anointing Oil of Queen Elizabeth: see #19 of 50 facts about The Queen’s Coronation.)
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Knights and Squires

The mystery of Starbuck—”chief mate of the Pequod”—native Nantucketer—appears capable of surviving any climate—he’s thin, apparently: “But his thinness, so to speak, seemed no more the token of wasting anxieties and cares, than it seemed the indication of any bodily blight”—he’ll endure like a mummy, Ishmael says—multiple voyages had melded Starbuck into a soldier of the sea—he has many captain-like qualities—”Uncommonly conscientious”—inclined to superstition, but a sort of superstition that seemed “rather to spring, somehow, from intelligence than from ignorance”—”far-away domestic memories of his young Cape wife and child at home” don’t incline him to overly dangerous whale hunts—#safetyfirst? – “we shall ere long see what that word ‘careful’ precisely means when used by a man like Stubb, or almost any other whale hunter” (Ishmael too?)—night whale hunts are not allowed—Starbuck knew that people who had no fear were determined to endanger himself and the ship—“I will have no man in my boat […] who is not afraid of a whale.”—another reason for his sense of self-preservation: his father and brother both died chasing whales—some men are such good leaders that their followers will cover them with robes and adorn him; in the ocean these leaders are given a hammer and put back to work—Starbuck is a great leader and is a safe commander who seems to have his head on straight compared to the others of the crew—even if he had a failing, we wouldn’t know it—”But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck’s fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it.”—we got to cover up people’s faults by virtue of some “immaculate manliness”—it’s a God-given right to maintain “dignity”—Ishmael asks God, “who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes,” to bless Moby-Dick like he blessed Andrew Jackson.
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Knights and Squires

A look at the second and third mates of the ship (including Starbuck, the “knights”) along with their harpooners (their squires)—Second mate =  Stubb—native of Cape Cod—”Good-humored, easy, and careless, he presided over his whale-boat as if the deadliest encounter were but a dinner, and his crew all invited guests.”—(but his whaleboat has to be set-up just so)—while in fights with a whale, Stubb heard humming—who does that? —Ever to Stubb’s mouth is attached a pipe—”like his nose, his short. black little was one of the regular features of his face”—the air over the ocean is filled with disease, and Stubb had his continual smoking in lieu of a handkerchief—Third mate = Flask—native of Tisbury—a mindless fiend, attacking whales as a cat would attack a rat—Flask was that guy who goes into a bad situation and not realizing his mistake until it is too late—King Post is Flask’s nickname, given his likeness to a piece of timber used to buffer the ship from iceberg hits at sea—in other words, Flask is unintelligent; he is a buffer between the other mates and the crews—”Now these three mates—Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask, were momentous men.”—all three of the mates have harpooners who are of a different race—Starbuck and Queegee—Stubb and Tashtego—Flask and Daggoo—Tashtego is a Gay Head Indian who had known nothing but harpooning and is well known for his abilities—Daggoo is “a negro-savage” who is six feet five inches tall and towers over his white counterpart Flask—The section emphasizes that white men were typically  cast in commanding roles aboard whalers—all others were simply the muscle—Pip’s passing is mentioned at the end—”called a coward here” (in life), “hailed a hero there!” (in death).
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Ahab

The chapter in which the mysterious captain comes out—throughout the early parts of the trip the mates gave out all of the orders—”it was plain they but commanded vicariously”—the Captain stays in his cabin while the crew mutters rumors and wonders about their leader—”in the seclusion of the sea” Ishmael’s “vague disquietude” with regards to the unseen captain becomes “almost a perturbation“—he recalls the incoherent forebodings of “that outlandish prophet of the wharves,” Elijah—Ishmael realizes that he enjoys the barbaric crew of the Pequod more than his merchant trip experiences—praise is doled out to the three mates—”Three better, more likely sea-officers and men, each in his own different way, could not readily be found, and they were everyone of them Americans”—Finally, “[r]eality outran apprehension” Captain Ahab makes an appearance—“His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini’s cast Perseus.”—there’s a mark on him, visible upon his brow—”a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish”—no one knows where the mark comes from, whether Ahab was born with it, but old Tashtego Sr. asserts that Ahab wasn’t branded that way until he was “a full forty years old”—Manxman says its a “birth-mark” that if Ahab were laid out on a slab would stretch “from crown to sole”—his ivory leg is carved from a sperm whale’s jawbone—while on his quarter-deck, Ahab braces his leg into an auger hole and rotates around like a basketball player on his pivot foot—at first, Ahab strikes a somber presence above deck: “moody stricken Ahab stood before them with a crucifixion in his face; in all the nameless regal overbearing diginity of some mighty woe”—but as the Pequod gets further out to sea, and further away from cold weather, the captain seems to become more at ease—as if the cold was keeping the captain frozen in his head—Ahab does not help with the aspects of sailing and he was unnecessary as having another mast on the boat—”nearly all whaling preparatives needing supervision the mates were fully competent to do”—the seasons change—April and May arrive, almost bringing a smile to Ahab’s face—”the red-cheeked, dancing girls” will “at least send forth some few green sprouts” from even the “most thunder-cloven old oak.”
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Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb

“[I]cebergs all astern,” the Pequod sails into “the bright Quito spring”—a dreamy redundancy has taken over the days on the ship—”For sleeping men, ’twas hard to choose between such winsome days and such seducing nights.”—the changing weather continues to wrought changes in Ahab—he is restless,pacing the decks by night—sometimes there’s a show of “humanity”: when the men are asleep Ahab stays off of the upper decks to prevent them dreaming of the crunching teeth of sharks—still, he mostly avoids his cabin—“It feels like going down into one’s tomb” —Once, when Ahab does venture out on deck he is met by humorous Stubb, who says that being the captain Ahab could do as he pleased, but Stubb also hints that there might be some way of muffling the noise—Creek, Thunk! Creek, Thunk! Creek, Thunk!—angered by the suggestion, Ahab faces down Stubb—“Am I a cannon-ball, Stubb….that thou wouldst wad me that fashion?”—“Down, Dog, and Kennel”—Stubb doesn’t take kindly to the mistreatment—“I will not tamely be called a dog, sir”—“Then be called ten times a donkey, and a mule, and an ass, and be gone, or I’ll clear the world of thee”—this violent retort sends Stubb into his head, to contemplate his next course of action—”A hot old man! I guess he’s got what some folks ashore call a conscience; it’s a kind of Tic-Dolly-row they say—worse nor a toothache“—a queer fellow that Ahab, he thinks—actually, comes to think of them, all things are queer—Stubb is disturbed by the exchange and decides to sleep on it—”so here goes to hammock again; and in the morning, I’ll see how this plaguey juggling thinks over by daylight.”
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The Pipe

Ahab remains on deck and calls for his ivory stool and his pipe—he lights his pipe by the binnacle lamp——he strikes a god-like figure: “For a Khan of the plank, and a king of the sea, and a great lord of Leviathans was Ahab.”—he takes the pipe from his mouth and murmurs to himself—“How now […] this smoking no longer soothes, oh, my pipe! Hard must it go with me if thy charm be gone!”—seems worried about his aging, but his aging in particular: “This thing is meant for sereneness, to send up mild white vapors among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine”—Ahab is changing—the aspects of life that he once enjoyed have lost their charm—he throws the still lighted pipe into the sea, where it “hissed in the waves”—”With a slouched hat, Ahab lurchingly paced the planks.”—He can no longer live a normal life.
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Queen Mab

Stubb wakes the next morning and shares a dream he had Flask—clearly having the encounter with Ahab from the previous night still on his mind, Stubb dreamt that Ahab gave him a #kick with his ivory leg—Stubb goes to kick him back, but his leg falls off (#castration)—at the same time “presto! Ahab seemed a pyramid, and I,” says Stubb, “like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it”—even in his rage, Stubb, in the dream, contemplates the insult—he considers that he was kicked by the ivory leg—a kick from a living leg would have been a real insult—”The living member—that makes the living insult, my little man.”—being kicked by Ahab’s false leg is more similar to being swatted by a cane than to being backhanded—the human blow is harder to deal with than an inanimate object—”‘it was only a playful cudgelling—in fact, only a whaleboning that he gave me—not a base kick'”—then comes “the greatest joke” of Stubb’s dream—he gets approached by a merman—”‘Slid! man, but I was frightened. Such a phiz! [i.e., face]'”—Stubb offers to kick the merman, but he gets a surprise—the merman turns, pulls up some seaweed he’s wearing as a clout, and shows that his butt is covered in marlin-spikes!—”‘Wise Stubb,’ said he, ‘wise Stubb'”—why stub, Stubb? (#pun)—Stubb “argues the insult” with the merman for a bit—Merman: “[Y]ou were kicked by a great man, and with a beautiful ivory leg, Stubb. It’s an honour; I consider it an honour.”—”Don’t you see that pyramid?”—Stubb wakes from his dream—”‘Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?’ ‘I don’t know; it seems sort of foolish to me tho’.'”—Stubb resolves that meaning of the dream is this “to let that old man [Ahab] alone”—”Hark!”—Ahab orders all men prepared as he senses whales nearby—”If you see a white one, split your lungs for him!”—Stubb considers it “queer”: “[a] white whale […] there’s something special in the wind […] Ahab has that that’s bloody on his mind […]”
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Cetology

Cetology = the branch of zoology devoted to the study of whales—”The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here essayed.”—Ishmael quotes several authorities: Captain Scoresby, Surgeon Beale, Cuvier, John Hunter, Lessing, who all say that the leviathan is cloaked in mystery—”Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the cetecea.”—of the many naturalists who have written about whales, few have seen live whales and “but one of them was a real professional harpooner and whaleman”: Scoresby—until recently the sperm whale was mostly unheard of compared to the much more well recognized Greenland, or right whale—Ishmael announces a shift in power in the cetecean world: “This is Charing Cross; hear ye! good people all,—the Greenlanf whale is deposed,—the great sperm whale now reigneth!”—Ishmael bemoans the “unwritten life” of the sperm whale—”My object here is simply to project the draught of a systematization of cetology. I am the architect, not the builder.”—Ishmael has his misgivings (“What am I that I should essay to hook the nose of this leviathan?”), but he will try—begins by classifying the whale, contra Linnaeus, as “a spouting fish with a horizontal tail”—the various species of whale are then briefly summarized and classed into “three primary Books (subdivisible into chapters),” dependent upon their size—Book 1 (Folio whales): Chapters 1 = 60ft Sperm Whale Physeter catodon, 2= 55ft Right Whale Eubalaena glacialis, 3= 80ft Finback Whale Balaenoptera physalus, 4= 40ft Humpback Whale Megaptera novaengliae, and 5= 100ft (Sulphur Bottom) Blue Whale Baelenoptera musculus—Book 2 (Octavio whales): Chapters 1 = 13ft Grampus or Risso’s Dolphin Grampus griseus, 2= 20ft (Black Fish) Pilot Whale Globicephala malaena, 3= 15ft Narwhale Monodon monoceros, and 4= 30ft Killer Whale Orcinus orca—Book 3 (Duodecimo whales): Chapters 1 = (Huzzah Porpoise) 5.5ft Harbor Porpoise Phocaena phocoena, 2 = Algerine Porpoise, and 3 = (Mealy-mouthed Porpoise) 8ft Right Whale Dolphin Lissodelphis peroniborealis—as promised, Ishmael’s system remains unfinished and imperfect—”even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower”—”God keep me from every completing anything. This whole book is a draught—nay, but the draught of a draught.”
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The Specksynder

This chapter is devoted to  “domestic peculiarity” aboard whaleships, one which arose from “the existence of the harpooneer class of officers,” and which is unknown to any marine vocation but whaling—in modern times the Captain is in complete command of the ship but it was not always so—originally in Dutch ships the Captain split his duties with the Specksynder—literally the word means “Fat-Cutter,” but just think of this position as “Chief Harpooneer”—the captain was in command of the vessel for the purposes of navigation and general management, much as a captain is today, but the Specksynder was in command of “the whale-hunting department and all its concerns”—usually at sea the chief distinction between officers and other men is that “the first lives aft [at the back of the boat], the last forward [at the bow, in the forecastle]”—on whaleships it’s different, because of that unique class of harpooneers, so indispensable to the success of the voyage—on whalers the harpooneers are lodged in the after part of the ship and eat in the captain’s cabin—”the grand political maxim of the sea demands, that he should nominally live apart from the men before the mast, and be in some way distinguished as their professional superior; though always, by them, familiarly regarded as their social equal”—sometimes you’ll see whaleship captains parading their authority over their subalterns, “as if he wore the imperial purple, and not the shabbiest of pilot-cloth”–Ahab was not given to parading his power and authority, but he does exact “implicit, instantaneous obedience” from his men—Ishmael ruminates briefly on the peculiar power wielded by Ahab—the Captain of the Pequod stands apart from other captains, many of whom parade as though an Emperor or King of his ship, by remaining grim and shaggy, carrying a sense of Nantucket and the common man driven within him at all times—”all outward majestical trappings and housings are denied me” in characterizing Ahab, Ishmael says—what is grand in him will need to be “plucked at from the skies, and dived for in the deep, and featured in the unbodied air!”
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The Cabin-Table

At noon, Dough-Boy calls Ahab to dinner, which is a strange affair aboard the Pequod—starting with Ahab and going in a descending order of importance, the officers report to their meal—each person of higher rank informs his subordinate that it is time for dinner, and each man waits until his superior is settled before making his way down the scuttle (flight of stairs leading below deck)—you might expect conversation, but at the captain and mates’ dinner on the Pequod there was none, though Ahab did not forbid it—Ishmael remarks a peculiarity of mealtime aboard a whaleship that even an officer who would hold himself boldly before his captain in other cirumstances will quell before him at a dinner table—”To have been Belshazzar, King of Babylon; and to have been Belshazzar, bot haughtily but courteously, therein certainly must have been some mundane grandeur”—”Who has but once dined his friends, has tasted what it it is to be Caesar.”—the food is served to them in the same order in which they were seated: Ahab first, Flask last—the men leave the table, however, in reverse order—therefore, if anyone finishes his dinner before Flask (who was served last), Flask must still leave the table first—Flask, butterless and famished, sometimes goes with only three mouthfuls for the whole day simply because Stubb was not particularly hungry—conversely, after the officers’ meal is cleared the harpooneers sit down merrily to eat at the cabin-table, with jesting and mirth—Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo terrorize Dough-Boy if he doesn’t come quick enough with the food—Queequeg smacks his lips and only takes small bites such that it seems impossible that such eating habits support his massive frame—Daggoo takes his meal on the floor so his head won’t hit the ceiling—sometimes the harpooneers sharpen their knives at the table, scaring poor Dough-Boy even further—Ahab, like most captains, understood that the ship’s cabin was his by rights and others were only there by courtesy—the crew does not mind—while officially a Christian, Ahab lives “as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri”: an alien to Christiandom and socially inaccessible owing to his gloomy soul.
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The Mast-Head

The nice weather rolls around before Ishmael has his first shift on the mast-head (a perch atop each mast where the sailors spy for whales)—even when just leaving port and far away from main hunting grounds the mast-heads are kept manned both when departing and arriving, in the hopes of getting another whale—the Egyptians had the first recorded mast-heads (the pyramids) if you discount the Babelonians, for their tower was left unfinished when they were scattered by God’s wrath—among the “modern standers-of-mast-heads” Ishmael notes the statues of Napoleon atop the Vendôme column in Paris,Washington atop his mainmast in Baltimore, and Admiral Nelson atop the capstan of gunmetal in Trafalgar Square in London—these sentries will not answer “a single hail from below, however madly invoked to befriend by their counsels the distracted decks upon which they gaze; however, it may be surmised, that their spirits penetrate through the thick haze of the future, and descry what shoals and what rocks must be shunned”—until recently, Nantucket kept mast-heads along the coast to watch out for whales, though the practice is now obsolete with regular whaling voyages—”the one proper mast-head” = “that of a whale-ship at sea”—on these voyages, which can last years, the mast-heads are manned from sun-up to sundown, and a man can be stranded in the little hoop that is the shelter-less mast-head for months in sum, as the sea and sheer wind cut at him to the core—often in whaling life “a sublime uneventfulness invests you”—a crow’s-nest on the other hand is much more hospitable than the “t’gallant cross-trees,” but more a luxury of the Greenland whalers than their southern counterparts—Ishmael goes on a bit about the invention of the crow’s nest by one Captain Sleet, imagines it gave Sleet lots of opportunity to drink on duty—the lack of a crow’s-nest is a fair deprivation from the perspective of the southern whalers, given their relatively calm waters—Ishmael often chats with anyone off duty while he stands the mast-head—he admits that he keeps but “sorry guard”—”Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness; and who offers to ship with the Phaedon instead of Bowditch in his head”—Ishmael’s not the best masthead for spying whales—philosophers like him can prove a wasted watch for an eager captain or harpooneer—he looses himself perched atop the masthead with the whole infinite sea spread out below him.
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The Quarter-Deck

“[Enter Ahab: Then, all]”—Ahab paces the deck, “all over dented” due to previous trudging of his ivory leg—his brow seems to be dented in a similar fashion, from “the foot-prints of his one, unsleeping, ever-pacing thought”—Stubb: “the chick’s that in him pecks the shell”—steadies his peg-leg in it auger hole—has Starbuck assemble the crew  aft—Starbuck’s surprised; not a usual order—Ahab continues to pace as the crew assembles—then he starts preaching to the crew, getting them riled up over what happens when they see a whale—”A dead whale or a stove boat!”—places a bounty on the white whale—pulls out a “Spanish ounce of gold” and nails the doubloon to the main-mast —offers the reward to the first person who “raises” the white whale (spies him from the boat)—harpooneers describe what they know and have seen of the white whale named Moby Dick—prompted by a query by Starbuck, Ahab admits that Moby Dick took his leg—explains that his redemption is their main mission—asks the men to “splice hands” on the mission—Starbuck thinks they should only hunt Moby Dick if they come across him—Starbuck challenges Ahab for being obsessed with “vengeance on a dumb brute! […] Madness! […] seems blasphemous!”—Ahab stands his ground—keeps talking to Starbuck on a “lower layer,” one, two, three times, until Starbuck appears to relent—Ahab “[Aside] Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Starbuck now is mine”—”God keep me!—keep us all!” Starbuck murmurs, but Ahab doesn’t hear—requests that everyone drink to their resolve to hunt Moby Dick—passes around a pewter full of liquor—“Drink and pass.”—has the harpooneers get out their irons and assembles them and the mates around him—Ahab claims to be reviving “a noble custom of [his] fishermen fathers before [him]”—mates cross their lances before Ahab and they drink—harpooneers detach the heads of their irons and drink from the hollows—“Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!”—more yelling, drinking, and hoopla—Ahab waves his hand—everyone returns to their duties—Ahab retreats to his cabin.
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