Moby Dick

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MOBY DICK "Call me Ishmail." begins the story of Moby Dick. Ishmail is the narrator of the story of the great white whale, which takes not only a man's leg, but to many others they also think that the special white whale may also have taken the sanity out of the old, wise Captain Ahab. The story Moby Dick is written by Herman Melville, a man who did not like nature and wanted to kill everything that was a threat to man. This story shows the relationship between man and nature, and shows nature's awesome forces at work.

The story starts out in a small whaling town called New Bedford in the year 1841 where a man named Ishmail comes to look for some work on a whaling ship. He first visits the local bar where many whalers come and tell their stories of the sea. He meets a whaler who talks about Captain Ahab.

Ishmail has no idea who the man is. A whaler tells Ishmail "If God be a fish, he'd be a whale." Ishmail decides to stay the night in the town, and the landlord tells him that he has to stay with another whaler. When Ishmail asks the landlord where he is, the landlord replies "out selling heads". Finally Ishmail falls asleep in his roommates bed, and his roommate comes in and has no idea that he has another person in his bed. As the roommate stretches he feels Ishmail and screams. The landlord comes in to see what is going on. Ishmail says that he didn't tell him he was staying with a cannibal, and the landlord says I told you he was out selling heads. Ishmail learns that his roommates name is Queequeg. When Ishmail questions Queequeg about where he was from, Queequeg says that he's a cannibal and a head shrinker from another island. One day a ship came past his island and he went out on his rowboat to investigate. He climbed on the ship and the ship left his island. By the time he relized the ship was moving he was hundreds of miles away from his island. He also tells Ishmail that his father was the King of the island. They become friends and decide to look for a whaling ship together.

The next morning they go out and look for a whaling ship. They come along a ship named The Pequod. They come aboard and see if they can become two of the ships crew members. They decided that they could after Queequeg shows them his impressive harpooning skills. They then decide the pay. Ishmail will receive three hundred and thirty third of a percent of the earning the ship makes.

As they were getting ready to leave, Ishmail and Queequeg see a guy in the harbor who gives them a strange prophecy. He says, "And suddenly you will smell land where there be no land, and on that Ahab will go to his grave but, he will rise again and beckon and all save one shall follow." When asked his name he replies Elijah.

All of the crew mates are lead in a prayer and then they are off. All the crew members meet Starbuck, the second in command, and a boy from Alabama named Pip, who was the cabin boy. Queequeg is named the number one harpooner, second is Tashtego a Native American, and third was Daggoo an African, who killed a lion by himself and then ate it.

The first night they heard Ahab pacing around all night long. The clicking of his peg leg they heard all night long. The next morning Ahab tells the crew of a white whale as big as a mountain, and how it bit his leg off. He offers to the first person who spots Moby Dick, one pure ounce of Spanish gold, worth about sixteen dollars. Ahab clamed that Moby Dick tore his sole and body. Then as a pledge every crew member took a drink of rum out of a little container. Ahab then says, "May God hunt us all if we don't hunt Moby Dick to his death." After a while, Queequeg spots the first whale and yells, "starboard whale." They send down the smaller row boats, and they harpooned the first whale. A man falls overboard but they still got the whale. The whale put up a good fight, but it wasn't good enough. The Pequod has gotten it's first whale. That night they stripped all the blubber off of the whale and boiled it down in order to make oil. Whale oil lasted much longer then candle wax did, so everyone wanted it more.

That night Ahab calls in Starbuck and shows him a map that he drew up. It had on it all the ocean currents, recent whale kills, where groups of whales were headed and where Moby Dick was. Ahab said that on a new moon in April he would know right where the whale was and finally get his revenge on him. He would be around the southern tip of Africa. So Ahab sent the ship sailing that way.

The next morning Ishmail is in the crows nest and spots a whale. He then spots many more he yells, "there's two hundred whales." They send down the row boats and they kill three whales. While all this is going on another whaling boat comes along, and the captain from the boat comes aboard the Pequod. His name was Captain Shaw. This captain is missing an arm, he says he's glad the whale got his arm and not all of him. Ahab asks him about a white whale and Shaw says he saw a white whale around the Cape of Good Hope. Ahab then tells the crew mates to cut the ropes off of the three whales they just killed and to get into the Pequod because they were going northeast towards Madagascar. The crew thinks that Ahab is crazy because they can get all the oil they need by staying with this group of two hundred whales, but he becomes greedy and only wants one thing, to get revenge on Moby Dick.

Then a group of people get together to discuss the actions of Ahab, one person calls it an evil voyage, Starbuck says that he now fears God because he is not doing his job, and they agree that Ahab is only out for revenge. One person comes in and says that it's a law that the crew can rest a captain's command if he is not doing his job. Another man replies, "Captain's can't break the law, captains are the law." Then one day, Queequeg does something that tells the future. He throws bones into a pile and whatever formation they make is what is going to happen in the future. He throws the bones and he gasps. When asked what they mean, he tells Ishmail to get the carpenter. The carpenter comes and Queequeg tells him to build him a coffin, because Queequeg had just foreseen his death. He believes in it so much that he just sits there and waits to die, he doesn't move for anyone or do anything, he just sits there. Ishmail forbids Queequeg to die and says that he can't. Then a man comes up with a knife, and just to see how serious Queequeg was, the man cut Queequeg across his chest, Queequeg just sat there and did nothing. Ishmail saw this and punched the man in the face. The man got up and went after Ishmail with the knife. When Queequeg saw this he got up and almost killed the man who was going after Ishmail.

Ahab getting frustrated, tells the crew whoever kills Moby Dick, that person will get all of Ahab's profit, ten percent of all the ships earnings. Then another boat comes along and Ahab knows where this boat is coming from and who the captain is. The name of the boat is The Rachel. The captain's name was Gardener and when Ahab spotted him, he asked if he had seen a white whale. Gardener says he has, and then Ahab asks if he killed it but Gardener says no, they tried to but the harpoon got stuck in him and the boat that the harpoon was connected to tipped over and everybody except his 12 year old son fell out. When it turned back over the captain could see the whale leaving with his son still attached to his side by ropes. Gardener then asks if Ahab wants to help get the whale, but Ahab doesn't want to and just leaves looking for Moby Dick.

Ahab wants to make one special harpoon, the one that will kill Moby Dick, to make it instead of using water to temper it, he wants to get enough blood from all of the crew members and temper it with their blood. That night there was bad thunderstorm. The sails were all shredding. And something happened on the boat, something when all the electricity in the air hits the water, it makes everything glow. The whalers call it St. Elmo's Fire, and when that happened all of the crew members were scared, except Ahab, he stuck his cane into the air and it took and errie glow, Ahab said that it lights the way to Moby Dick.

The next morning one of the crew member says that he smells land. There was no land for thousands of miles, so they didn't know what it could be. And all of a sudden birds started to fly around the boat. Ishmail remembers Elijah, he tells Ahab about what Elijah told him and Queequeg before they got on the ship and Ahab didn't believe it. Then they spotted it, Moby Dick! Ahab commanded to get the rowboats down and Ahab went with them this time. They went down and just as they were going to harpoon the whale it went under. Ahab commanded that the whale come back up. As the birds started to fly Ahab knew he was coming back up. The whale came back up and picked the boat up in his mouth. Ahab went onto the whale's back and stabbed and stabbed the whale and while he was stabbing him Ahab said, "I spit my last breath at ye." Ahab then got stuck in all of the ropes that were attached to the harpoons that were on Moby Dick's back. The whale went under with Ahab attached to him. The whale then came back up and turned his back just enough so it looked like Ahab beckoned. The rest of the crew saw it and followed to kill Moby Dick. The whale then rammed into the Pequod, and destroyed it. The ship sank deep into a whirlpool and the only thing that was left was the coffin made for Queequeg. Moby Dick attacked the other rowboats killing everyone, Ishmail fell into the water but he found the coffin and grabbed on to it. The whale thought it had killed everyone so it left. Ishmail was amazed that the whale didn't get him. As Ishmail floated around the ocean, The Rachael came back and saved him.