Moby Dick Chapter 43 - 45
Chapter 43 - 45
Hark!/The Chart/The Affadavit
The men are on watch at night when one of them hears a noise below deck, like a cough. None of the other men believe him.
In his cabin, Ahab has a large chart of the sea, which he uses to track the movements of Moby-Dick. Sperm whales are said to follow certain patterns through the sea, which makes it possible for Ahab to track the White Whale. Moby-Dick has been seen in a certain part of the tropics, and while it is impossible for the Pequod to reach that place at the right time this year, Ahab plans to wait until the next season to visit this place. In the three hundred and sixty days between now and then, he can go about a more random search for the whale, hoping to come across him by accident.
Ahab's obsession torments him, especially at night; often he will wake from unsettling dreams and run up onto the deck as if escaping a fire. His soul wars with his monomania, and gives him a look of half-madness.
In order to prove that his story is not unbelievable, Ishmael tells of a time when a whale was harpooned and escaped, only to be killed years the later by the very same man who harpooned him the first time. Also, there are many whales that have been identified by their aspect, and named; naming a particular Moby-Dick would not be completely unusual.
Whaling is much more dangerous than most people think, probably because most whaling deaths and injuries go unrecorded. And people who've never seen a whale also fail to have a true conception of its size.
There are records, going back to the time of the Romans, of a Sperm Whale sinking ships intentionally.