Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moby-Dick is in the Vacinity


Chapter 121 – Midnight – The Forecastle Bulwarks
Stubbs and Flask consider the situation at hand, and Flask is concerned that Ahab is putting them in danger; but Stubbs thinks their position is no different than any other whaling ship.

Chapter 122 – Midnight Aloft – Thunder and Lightning
Tashtego is on the main-top-sail yard commands the storm to pass; instead would prefer Rum.

Chapter 123 – The Musket
The storm becomes fair, and Starbuck goes to Ahab’s cabin to inform him of the changed conditions; but he is asleep.  Starbuck eyes the muskets, one that Ahab had previously threatened him with, and he considers murdering Ahab for the danger he is putting them in; but he cannot bring himself to do it.  He leaves, and asks Stubb to wake him instead.

Chapter 124 – The Needle
The storm has tweaked the compass needle, and is sending the ship in the wrong direction.  Ahab builds his own compass, and the Pequod is turned around.

Chapter 125 – The Log and Line
In addition to the quadrant and the compass, now the log and line, (used to measure the speed of a ship) which Ahab said he’d never bother with, was also ruined; and Ahab considers asking the carpenter to make a new one and mend it.  Then he calls Pip to him, but Pip is completely wacked-out.  I do not understand anything having to do with Pip.  I suppose he has gone completely mad, and Ahab likely relates to him, or he is Ahab’s only friend.

Chapter 126 – The Life Buoy
In the night, the ship passes what appears to be little black rocky islets paired with the sounds of ghostly cries; the men believe they are the cries of men lost at sea, however, in the gray morning, it was only a colony of seals. 

At sunrise, a mate attends to his post masthead and tumbles out into the sea.  The life buoy was throw over, but the mate never appears again: “…thus the first man of the Pequod that mounted the mast to look out for the White Whale…that man was swallowed up in the deep.”

Then, to replace the life buoy that was lost at sea, Queequeg suggests the carpenter refit his coffin.   I initially thought this would be the wooden hearse at sea.

Chapter 127 – The Deck
So, yes, the coffin is now going to be refitted as the new life buoy, and the carpenter is beside himself that he should have to make such a thing.  Ahab thinks it’s preposterous that he goes through with it.  Then Ahab goes off to have a one-sided conversation with Pip about the dark side.

Chapter 128 – The Pequod Meets the Rachel
Another ship, the Rachel, catches up with the Pequod, and the captain urgently meets with Ahab.  Firstly, to answer Ahab’s only concern, yes, they have seen the White Whale; but during the chase by three of the ship’s boats, as they were on to him, they let down a fourth boat, which headed in the opposite direction.  Eventually the whale eluded them, and at dark the Rachel picked up its three boats; yet the fourth was nowhere to be seen.  The captain implored Ahab to help him search for the fourth because his twelve-year old son was with them, but Ahab stubbornly rejected his plea, even though Ahab’s crew was willing, and went to his cabin alone. 

Chapter 129 – The Cabin
Ahab can only focus on Moby-Dick, now that he knows he is in the vicinity, and he cannot be distracted by anyone, including Pip.  Pip is completely hopeless.

Chapter 130 – The Hat
So obsessed is he with the Whale, that he does not trust anyone to thoroughly do his job; therefore he watches constantly for the whale.  At one point he vows to spot the Whale himself, and goes upon the mainmast; and while there, a black hawk steals away his hat and drops it to the sea – another bad omen predicted. 

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