Friday, July 6, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm


Chapter 29 – Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb
Stubb challenges Ahab for pacing the boards while the shipmates sleep, but Ahab calls him a dog, insulting Stubb.  Nonetheless, Stubb withdrawals and is completely incensed by Ahab’s rudeness.

Chapter 30 – The Pipe
Suddenly, Ahab realizes that smoking his pipe no longer satisfies him and he tosses it into the sea.

Chapter 31 – Queen Mab
Stubb tells of a dream he has had about Ahab kicking him with his whalebone leg, and that a merman in his dream has suggested it is an honor to be kicked by Ahab.

Chapter 32 – Cetology
A friend of mine told me to skip this chapter, and when I asked what to write in my summary, she suggested writing one word: dumb.  In greater detail, she added that it is inaccurate and non-factual and does not add to the story.  Being that I am only interested in the story, I have taken her advice.

Chapter 33 – The Specksynder
A dry chapter on the hierarchy of officers, mates, and crew aboard whaling ships.

Chapter 34 – The Cabin Table
Descriptions of what it is like to eat aboard the whaling ship: the order in which the crew eat, what they eat, how they eat, and in silence because Ahab prohibits conversation.  Harpooners eat like animals, and are menacing to the cook.

Chapter 35 – The Mast-Head
Ishmael has his first post atop the masthead watching for whales, where sometimes it can get boring and one can get easily distracted with daydreams.   He also gives a history of the mastheads aboard whaling ships.

Chapter 36 – The Quarter-Deck
Something is eating at Ahab, and the mates know it.  Ahab calls the crew together and orders them to look out for a white sperm whale with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke; he offers a reward to him who raises that whale.  The harpooners know the whale as Moby-Dick.  Starbuck thinks it is a waste to search only for Moby-Dick as revenge for what was just a natural instinct – the injury committed against Ahab. 

Chapter 37 – Sunset
Ahab contemplates: he knows that he is mad and that the crew agrees, but he is fixed on his vengeance against Moby-Dick.  It was foretold that a whale would dismember him; therefore, now he foretells the final end to his dismemberer. 

Chapter 38 – Dusk
Starbuck contemplates: he is uneasy about this mission, but he is compelled to pity Ahab.  Then the crew is in an uproar, and Starbuck is disheartened to be in such a horror of a mess between the madman and the heathen crew. 

Chapter 39 – First Night-Watch
And finally, Stubb contemplates: I think he’s cracking up!

Chapter 40 – Midnight, Forecastle
The novel turns into a play.  The different varieties of nationalities on board are displayed.  They sing and converse and argue. 


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