Moby-Dick - Chapters 32-33 Summary & Analysis

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Chapters 32-33 Summary

In the moment whales are first spotted, Ishmael pauses the action to give a long account of the classifications of the differing types of whales. He begins with a series of quotes that attest to the difficulty of classing these leviathan beasts, and then continues on to list a number of authors who have written about whales. Only one of these authors, Ishmael says, actually had experience with whales and that was with the Greenland whale, a creature he attests is much smaller and less magnificent than the sperm whale. Ishmael notes that although whales are generally considered fish, whales are actually different from fish because they have lungs and are warm blooded.

After much contemplation, Ishmael chooses to define a whale simply as a spouting fish with a horizontal tail. He divides these fish into three main types: the folio whale, the octavo whale...

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This section contains 413 words
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.