Moby Dick, or, The Whale

Chapter 4. The Counterpane.

This chapter was another layer of character study of both Ishmael and Queequeg. Ishmael recounted a story from his childhood, about a ghostly encounter and its similarity in the feelings evoked to the feelings he felt upon waking to fond Queequeg’s arm wrapped tightly around him. He was surprised and disoriented.

We also see further displays of Queequeg as the ‘Noble Savage’, both quirky in his ignorance of basic manners, but also decorous in his respect for Ishmael’s privacy.

From what little I remember of previous readings, I do remember enjoying the friendship between Queequeg and Ishmael.

It’s the perfect friendship for an introvert like me – companionable and understanding without the need for much talk.

Now, as I mentioned before, I haven’t ever gotten further than a third to half way through, so we’ll see where their friendship goes beyond that. And if this complete reading supports my memory of their friendship.

A little phrase that stuck out to me this chapter was, ‘21st of June, the longest day in the year in our hemisphere.’ I liked reading that. It probably turns up in this book because so much of the novel takes place on a boat that traverses the world. But I still enjoyed the acknowledgement that those of us who live in the Southern Hemisphere experience days and seasons differently. It’s a small thing, but I’m happy when I see those kinds of things. In Australia, we’re about to head into the shortest day of the year. Blech. It’s been so drizzly and damp here lately.

Enough moping. On to some housekeeping. I’m beginning to wonder if I should read and recount two to three chapters at a time, seeing as the chapters are so short. For this week I’ll stick with one chapter per post, and then next week I’ll give two chapters per post a go.


Beaver Hat – A hat made of felted beaver fur. Commonly shaped into a top hat. Most illustrations of Queequeg depict him wearing this hat.

Image result for queequeg

I. W. Taber – Moby Dick – edition: Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York


Featured Image: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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