Chapter 72 - 73 Notes from Moby Dick

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Moby Dick Chapter 72 - 73

The Monkey-Rope/Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk Over Him

One of the hardest parts of stripping a whale is inserting the hook into the body to pull out strips of blubber. This was Queequeg's job; the rope by which he was attached to the ship, called a monkey-rope, was held by Ishmael. This is dangerous, because if Queequeg should fall into the ocean and die, honor demanded that Ishmael go down with him.

Topic Tracking: Nature of Whaling 9

Sometimes Queequeg would slip from the whale and fall between it and the ship, where he is in danger of being crushed between the two, or attacked by the frenzied sharks attacking the carcass. Tashtego and Daggoo try to stab at the sharks with spears, but in their enthusiasm, they come closer to stabbing Queequeg than the sharks.

When Queequeg is at last finished, he is offered a drink; Stubb is enraged to find the drink the steward Dough-Boy holds to be mere ginger and water. Aunt Charity had given the concoction to the steward, with orders that the harpooneers were not to have any spirits. Stubb goes down below, and brings back two flasks. The first has rum, which is given to Queequeg; the other has Aunt Charity's gift, which is thrown into the ocean.

The Pequod again comes into seas with brit, indicating the presence of Right Whales. Although the Pequod was a Sperm Whaler, and did not generally hunt Right Whales, the order is given that a Right Whale should be taken that day, if possible. A Right Whale is soon spotted, and Stubb and Flask both go after it.

After they have killed it, Stubb asks Flask what he thinks Ahab wants with the Right Whale. Flask says that it is a legend, coming from Fedellah that a ship with a Sperm Whale's head on the starboard side, and a Right Whale's head on the larboard side cannot be capsized. Stubb, half-joking, suggests Fedellah is the devil, and that Ahab has made a deal with the devil to better capture Moby-Dick. Stubb promises to keep a close eye on Fedellah.

The Right Whale is brought back to the ship, and its head is cut off and hung on the opposite side of the boat from the Sperm Whale's head.

"Meantime, Fedellah was calmly eyeing the right whale's head, and ever and anon glancing from the deep wrinkles there to the lines in his own hand. And Ahab chanced so to stand, that the Parsee occupied his shadow; while, if the Parsee's shadow was there at all it seemed only to blend with, and lengthen Ahab's." Chapter 73, pg. 278

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