Chapter 41 – Moby-Dick
Ishmael learns the history of Moby-Dick: some resources claim that Sperm Whales are actually “athirst for human blood;” some superstitious thinkers believe Moby-Dick to be omnipresent and immortal; he has been known to “leave his pursuers in splinters” or chase them back to their ships. It was during one of those situations in which a fateful boat carried Ahab, and Moby-Dick came up from underneath the captain and snapped off his leg. Ahab’s madness may have waned, but it has not escaped him; from that time forward, he has been committed to avenge his loss.
Chapter 42 – The Whiteness of the Whale
In nature, a white hue has come to enrich what is beautiful and represents virtue and honor; but sometimes it can intensify that which is horrible, such as polar bears or white sharks. The White Whale is the symbol of that dreadful horror.
Chapter 43 – Hark!
One of the crew, Archy, hears a cough coming from below, but no one believes. But he is sure that he thinks someone is on the ship that has not been seen on deck, yet.
Chapter 44 – The Chart
In his cabin, Ahab studies his charts that aid in his discernment of how these Sperm Whales travel; he knows the seasons and tides that affect the whales and where they go in search of food supplies. He even knows the certain place Moby-Dick specifically goes to. Meanwhile, Ahab has created a monster within himself, and it is killing him. (OK, that’s what I think.)
Chapter 45 – The Affidavit
Ishmaels acknowledges that whaling stories may seem far-fetched, but he gives accounts of how difficult it is and perilous to whalers who often give their lives for the oil in [our] lamps.
Chapter 46 – Surmises
While Ahab appears capable to sacrifice all else for Moby Dick, he knows he can not depend on his crew to be motivated by these means for long; therefore he needs to encourage with other rewards, such as cash. He also needs to be open to target other whales or risk being overturned by the crew since [Moby-Dick] is not the mission of the Pequod.
Chapter 47 – The Mat-Maker
Queequeg and Ishmael are leisurely weaving sword-mats when Tashtego spots a whale, and the environment aboard the Pequod is full of liveliness as crews prepare to launch in harpoon boats for the chase. Suddenly, Ahab appears with five “dusky phantoms” from nowhere.
Chapter 48 – The First Lowering
The “phantoms” are Ahab’s secret crew, aboriginal natives of the Manillas that he has been harboring below deck. The crews spot the group of whales, but they are unsuccessful in everything they attempt. Ishmael and Queequeg’s boat is overturned by the whale and then almost crushed by the Pequod as it searches for them; but eventually they are taken aboard alive.
Chapter 49 – The Hyena
Ishmael is perplexed by what he has just experienced as his first whaling expedition. Others assure him that they has been in more dangerous situations; therefore, Ishmael decides to rewrite his will since he considers that he just experienced his death, and all the remainder of his days aboard the Pequod will be like those of Lazarus after his resurrection.