Moby Dick, or, The Whale

Chapter 21. Going Aboard. & Chapter 22. Merry Christmas.

Well, chapter 21 is like a continuation of ‘The Prophet’, chapter 19. Finally Ishamel and Queequeg and taking their permanent steps onto the pequod. But right as they amake their way down the pier, they run into Elijah aghain, who wants to make doubly sure that they’re sure about the voyage they’re about to take. The men of course think he’s crazy and shrug him off to climb aboard.

Once on board, they sit beside a sleeping rigger, and Queequeg tells Ishmaels some questionable tales about how in his homeland, the nobility would use people as furniture. As you do.

Eventually the gentleman wakes up and the move to the deck. Which brings us to chapter 22.

This festively titled chapter is actually quite gloomy. It describes the process of leaving the docks, and the rough treatment of the crew by Captains Peleg and Bildad. But it doesn’t last because eventually, the old captains must disembark and go back to shore on the sailboat that had accompanied them thus far.

The old men have and emotional time letting go, and it’s mentioned that they’ve invested several thousand dollars into the ship. That’s roughly $95000 today, at a conservative estimate! No wonder they’re concerned for the success of the voyage.

So, the chapter ends with the sombre imagery of the Pequod on the Atlantic Ocean.

We gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the Atlantic ~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Definitions

Chapter 21

Scuttle – a porthole

Chapter 22

Booble Alley – ‘A street in the red light district of Liverpool, England’ ~ source.

Watts – A book of hymns by Isaac Watts.

Handspike – wooden stick with an iron tip.

Windlass – a large horizontal spool used to lift large, heavy loads.

Psalmody – the singing of psalms.

Vernal – springlike.

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