MOBY DICK OR THE WHALE
Ishmael, the narrator, announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling
vessel. He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler. He
travels to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he stays in a whalers’ inn.
Since the inn is rather full, he has to share a bed with a harpooner
from the South Pacific named Queequeg. At first repulsed by Queequeg’s
strange habits and shocking appearance (Queequeg is covered with tattoos),
Ishmael eventually comes to appreciate the man’s generosity and kind
spirit, and the two decide to seek work on a whaling vessel together.
They take a ferry to Nantucket, the traditional capital of the whaling
industry. There they secure berths on the Pequod, a savage-looking ship
adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales. Peleg and Bildad, the
Pequod’s Quaker owners, drive a hard bargain in terms of salary. They
also mention the ship’s mysterious captain, Ahab, who is still
recovering from losing his leg in an encounter with a sperm whale on his