Moby Dick: Chapters 93-94

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Chapter 93, “The Castaway”
 
Summary
The Negro cabin boy, Pip, is a cheerful and tender-hearted boy who is ever ready to celebrate, singing with his tambourine. When another crew member is injured, Pip is put into the whale boat to row under Stubb’s command. In hunting a whale, he is frightened and jumps overboard. When he gets tangled in a line, they have to cut him loose and so lose the whale. When Pip jumps a second time, Stubb leaves him in the ocean to pursue a whale.
 
Pip is a castaway, alone on the open sea where “the awful lonesomeness is intolerable. The intense concentration of self in the middle of such a heartless immensity” (93. 411) is enough to drive him mad, and when the Pequod picks him up, he is ever after an idiot boy.
 
 
Chapter 94, “A Squeeze of the Hand”
 
Summary
The captured whale is brought aboard and dismembered. The sperm from the head has to be squeezed by hand in great tubs to keep it from crystallizing. Ishmael enjoys this task with the other men, for the sperm is fragrant, and in the tub, all the hands seem to melt and squeeze each other: “I felt divinely free from all ill-will,” he says (94. 413). Ishmael goes on to describe other parts of the whale as it is dissected and readied for the try-works.
 
 
Analysis Chapters 93 and 94
Pip’s ocean vision in “the wondrous depths where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world” darted in front of him and seemed to drive him mad was a vision of “God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom” (94. 411). But “insanity is heaven’s sense,”(94. 411) and so such a person who has seen the naked truth is called mad.  Pip will become a special favorite of Ahab’s, for only Ahab understands the universe as Pip saw it.
 
Stubb’s view of a human being is that he is a “money-making animal,” (93.410) and so he abandons Pip to go after a whale, when Pip fails to fulfill his whaling purpose. Ishmael has the opposite experience of human brotherhood when he squeezes the hands of the sailors in a tub of spermaceti: “Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness” (94. 413).
 
 

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