Moby Dick: Chapters 4-5

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Chapter 4, “The Counterpane”
 
Summary
When Ishmael wakes the next morning, Queequeg’s arm is thrown over him as affectionately as if Ishmael were his wife. Queequeq’s tattooed arm matches the patchwork quilt, and Ishmael cannot get out of his grasp, a feeling of paralysis as in a nightmare he had as a child. Queequeg gets up to dress and leave so Ishmael can have his privacy, but the comic scene ensuing involves the savage dressing slowly with only his beaver hat and boots on.
 
 
Chapter 5, “Breakfast”
 
Summary
The landlord is still laughing at the trick he played on pairing the two in the same room, but Ishmael is good-natured about it. At breakfast, the wild drunken sailors from the night before are sober and shy, out of place on land. Queequeg, however, is always at home. He takes the head of the table and uses his harpoon to stab the steaks he eats.
 
 
Analysis - Chapters 4 and 5
Humor and contrasts are apparent in the beginning of the friendship. Yet the friendship is the most important thing in Ishmael’s life at this time, and several times it is referred to as a kind of soul marriage: “Naught but death should part us twain” (4. 26).
 

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