Moby Dick

by Herman Melville

Moby Dick

Also known as The Whale, this is the story of Ishmael, a sailor aboard the Pequod with Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon realizes that vengeful Ahab's only mission is to find the sperm whale, Moby Dick.

Source: Melville H. (1851). Moby Dick.London, England: Richard Bently.

Etymology and Extracts
A brief overview of the Etymology of the word "whale".
Chapter 1: Loomings
Ishmael explains his decision to go to sea.
Chapter 2: The Carpet-Bag
Ishmael spends some time in New Bedford.
Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn
Ishmael stays the night at the Spouter Inn, where he encounters Queequeg.
Chapter 4: The Counterpane
Ishmael takes note of Queequeg's customs and behavior.
Chapter 5: Breakfast
Breakfast at the inn is not what Ishmael expected.
Chapter 6: The Street
Ishmael wanders the streets of New Bedford.
Chapter 7: The Chapel
Ishmael enters the Whaleman's Chapel.
Chapter 8: The Pulpit
Father Mapple comes to the pulpit.
Chapter 9: The Sermon
Father Mapple delivers his sermon.
Chapter 10: A Bosom Friend
Ishmael embraces Queequeg and his strange customs.
Chapter 11: Nightgown
Qureequeg recounts the story of his life.
Chapter 12: Biographical
Queequeg's tale is concluded. Ishmael and Queequeg seek employment at sea.
Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow
Ishmael and Queequeg make their way to Nantucket.
Chapter 14: Nantucket
Ishmael retells some of the legends of Nantucket.
Chapter 15: Chowder
Ishmael and Queequeg stay the Try-Pots for the evening.
Chapter 16: The Ship
Ishmael and Queequeg board the Pequod.
Chapter 17: The Ramadan
Ishmael observes one of Queequeg's religious ceremonies.
Chapter 18: His Mark
Queequeg impresses the ship owners.
Chapter 19: The Prophet
Ishmael and Queequeg receive a warning about Ahab.
Chapter 20: All Astir
Rumors of Ahab abound, but the Captain is yet to be seen.
Chapter 21: Going Aboard
The Pequod prepares to depart.
Chapter 22: Merry Christmas
The ship is navigated out to sea.
Chapter 23: The Lee Shore
Ishmael observes the sailor Bulkington.
Chapter 24: The Advocate
Ishmael defends the whaling profession.
Chapter 25: Postscript
Ishmael ponders the purity of sperm whale oil.
Chapter 26: Knights and Squires
Ishmael meets the first mate, Starbuck.
Chapter 27: Knights and Squires
Ishmael gives a description of the second mate, Stubb.
Chapter 28: Ahab
Captain Ahab finally makes an appearance.
Chapter 29: Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb
Ahab's temper flares.
Chapter 30: The Pipe
Ahab continues to become more agitated.
Chapter 31: Queen Mab
Stubb has a strange dream. The sailors of the Pequod go to work.
Chapter 32: Cetology
Ishmael describes the various types of whales.
Chapter 33: The Specksnyder
Ishmael explains the hierarchy of the whaling industry.
Chapter 34: The Cabin-Table
Dinner is served.
Chapter 35: The Mast-Head
Ishmael is posted as lookout on the mast-head.
Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck
Ahab appears before the men, declaring his intentions.
Chapter 37: Sunset
Ahab ponders his fate.
Chapter 38: Dusk
Starbuck, bound to Ahab by loyalty, fears the worst.
Chapter 39: First Night Watch
Stubb's lets his view of the fated voyage be known.
Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle
The sailors interact as a storm approaches.
Chapter 41: Moby Dick
Rumours of Moby Dick circulate amongst the crew.
Chapter 42: The Whiteness of The Whale
The whiteness of Moby Dick affects Ishmael.
Chapter 43: Hark!
The sailors on watch share rumors of a mysterious passenger.
Chapter 44: The Chart
Ishmael gives a description of Ahab's search for Moby Dick.
Chapter 45: The Affidavit
The narrator makes a request to the reader.
Chapter 46: Surmises
Ishmael ponders the many aspects of Ahabs intended revenge.
Chapter 47: The Mat-Maker
The narrator describes downtime on the ship. The lull in the action does not last for long.
Chapter 48: The First Lowering
The crew board the harpoon boats. New crew members make their presence known.
Chapter 49: The Hyena
Ishmael is shocked at the dangers that are present on a whaling ship.
Chapter 50: Ahab's Boat and Crew Fedallah
The crew are intrigued by Ahab's boat crew.
Chapter 51: The Spirit-Spout
Ishmael feels the ship is being drawn to its destruction. Ahab continues to command the ship with a fury as it sails through treacherous waters.
Chapter 52: The Albatross
The Pequod encounters another whaling ship.
Chapter 53: The Gam
Ishmael explains the ritual of the gam.
Chapter 54: The Town-Ho's Story
Ishmael retells a story from the a gam with the whaling ship Town-Ho.
Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
Ishmael compares the common depiction of whales to his own eyewitness account.
Chapter 56: Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales and the True Pictures
Ishmael discusses the few accurate depictions of whales he has seen.
Chapter 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone
A discussion of the assortment of art that has been inspired by the whale.
Chapter 58: Brit
Ishmael ponders the dangers of the sea.
Chapter 59: Squid
A possible sighting of Moby Dick is only a false alarm.
Chapter 60: The Line
The narrator gives a description of the harpoon line, further discussing the dangers of whaling.
Chapter 61: Stubb Kills a Whale
A sperm whale is sighted.
Chapter 62: The Dart
A brief description of the harpooning of a whale.
Chapter 63: The Crotch
A description of the crotch and the dangers of harpooning.
Chapter 64: Stubb's Supper
Stubb dines on his kill.
Chapter 65: The Whale as a Dish
A brief culinary account of whale meat.
Chapter 66: The Shark Massacre
The crew protect the carcass from the sharks. Queequeg narrowly escapes injury.
Chapter 67: Cutting In
The narrator describes the processing of the whale carcass.
Chapter 68: The Blanket
Ishmael describes the whale's skin and blubber as he expresses an admiration for the animal's natural construction.
Chapter 69: The Funeral
The whale is released into the ocean after processing, but is still capable of inciting fear.
Chapter 70: The Sphynx
Ishmael describes the beheading of the whale. Ahab's behavior continues to alarm the crew.
Chapter 71: The Jeroboam's Story
The Pequod has a gam with the whaiing ship Jeroboam. Ahab receives a warning from Gabriel.
Chapter 72: The Monkey-Rope
Ishmael discusses the use of the monkey-rope when processing the whale.
Chapter 73: Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk Over
After the killing of a right whale, Fedallah makes a suggestion.
Chapter 74: The Sperm Whale's Head--Contrasted View
Ishmael discusses the physical attributes of the sperm whale.
Chapter 75: The Right Whale's Head--Contrasted View
Ishmael describes the right whale.
Chapter 76: The Battering-Ram
Ishmael discusses the strength of the sperm whales head.
Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun
Ishmael further discusses the compartments of the sperm whales head.
Chapter 78: Cistern and Buckets
The crew removes the oil from the whales head. Tashtego is nearly lost at sea.
Chapter 79: The Prairie
Ishmael uses physiognomy and phrenology to better understand the whale.
Chapter 80: The Nut
Ishmael continues to analyze and admire the whale.
Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets The Virgin
Ahab continues to enquire about the white whale. The Pequod's catch puts the crew at risk.
Chapter 82: The Honor and Glory of Whaling
Ishael draws on Greek mythology to show the heroic nature of whaling.
Chapter 83: Jonah Historically Regarded
Sag Harbor gives his opinion of the tale of Jonah.
Chapter 84: Pitchpoling
Queequeg prepares for a day of whaling. Stubb harpoons another whale.
Chapter 85: The Fountain
Ishmael ponders how whales spout.
Chapter 86: The Tail
Ishmael considers the beauty of the tail of a whale, as well as the injury it can inflict.
Chapter 87: The Grand Armada
The crew of the Pequod encounters a herd of sperm whales, but finds itself hunted before it can launch the harpoon boats.
Chapter 88: Schools and Schoolmasters
Ishmael introduces the reader to some whaling terminology.
Chapter 89: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish
Ishmael explains the concepts of fast-fish and loose-fish
Chapter 90: Heads or Tails
Ishmael explains the odd fishing laws of England.
Chapter 91: The Pequod Meets The Rose-Bud
Ahab continues to enquire about the white whale. Stubb and the crew "assist" the Bouton de Rose in disposing of a whale.
Chapter 92: Ambergris
Ishmael explains the use of ambergris, as well as the misconception of whales smelling foul.
Chapter 93: The Castaway
Pip is punished for disobeying Ahab.
Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand
Ishmael recounts the collecting of the spermaceti and the dangers of the blubber room.
Chapter 95: The Cassock
Ishmael describes various other parts of the whale.
Chapter 96: The Try-Works
Ishmael explains the try-works, where oil is extracted from the blubber through boiling.
Chapter 97: The Lamp
Ishmael explains the ever present light that can be found on a whaling ship.
Chapter 98: Stowing Down and Clearing Up
Ishmael finishes up his description of the processing of whale oil.
Chapter 99: The Doubloon
Ishmael describes the varying reactions of members of the crew to the golden coin fastened to the mainmast.
Chapter 100: Leg and Arm
The Pequod encounters the Samuel Enderby. Ahab and Boomer discuss their experiences with Moby Dick.
Chapter 101: The Decanter
Ishmael tells the significance of Samuel Enderby.
Chapter 102: A Bower in the Arsacides
Ishmael recalls a sperm whale skeleton in Tranque.
Chapter 103: Measurement of The Whale's Skeleton
Ishmael offers his observations of a whale skeleton he had previously measured.
Chapter 104: The Fossil Whale
Ishmael finds it impossible to exaggerate the size of the whale.
Chapter 105: Does the Whale's Magnitude Diminish?--Will He
Ishmael, in awe of the whale, ponders their enduring survival.
Chapter 106: Ahab's Leg
Ahab requests a new leg, feeling that his current one is not sturdy enough.
Chapter 107: The Carpenter
The Carpenter is asked to make a new leg for Ahab.
Chapter 108: Ahab and the Carpenter
Ahab abuses the carpenter when he goes to be fitted for his new leg.
Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin
An argument between Starbuck and Ahab results in gunplay. Ahab tries not to anger the crew.
Chapter 110: Queequeg in His Coffin
Queequeg falls ill and prepares for death. Pip makes a request of the dying man.
Chapter 111: The Pacific
Ishmael is calmed by the still water of the Pacific Ocean, but it has the opposite effect on Ahab.
Chapter 112: The Blacksmith
Ishmael tells the story of the Blacksmith and the attraction of the sea.
Chapter 113: The Forge
Ahab has the blacksmith create a harpoon for him, but eventually takes over.
Chapter 114: The Gilder
Ahab, Starbuck, and Stubbs address the sea.
Chapter 115: The Pequod Meets The Bachelor
The Pequod encounters the Batchelor. Ahab declines the captains invitation.
Chapter 116: The Dying Whale
A dying whales actions cause Ahab to celebrate the sea.
Chapter 117: The Whale Watch
As the men keep watch over the days kill, Fedallah reveals a prophesy to Ahab.
Chapter 118: The Quadrant
A destructive outburst by Ahab elicits varying responses from the crew.
Chapter 119: The Candles
A typhoon destroys a harpoon boat as Ahab continues to put the crew in harms way unnecessarily.
Chapter 120: The Deck Toward the End of the First Night Watch
Starbuck once again doubts the judgement of Ahab.
Chapter 121: Midnight--The Forecastle Bulwarks
Stubb and Flask discuss the present situation.
Chapter 122: Midnight Aloft--Thunder and Lightning
Tashtego makes some general observations about his fellow sailors.
Chapter 123: The Musket
Starbuck contemplates taking matters into his own hands.
Chapter 124: The Needle
The storm has negative affects on the ships navigation. Ahab's behavior continues to be cause for concern.
Chapter 125: The Log and Line
Ahab loses an important piece of equipment. Ahab rewards Pip with a better accomodations.
Chapter 126: The Life-Buoy
Superstition puts the crew on edge. Tragedy befalls a member of the crew.
Chapter 127: The Deck
The carpenter is upset by a strange request.
Chapter 128: The Pequod Meets The Rachel
The whaler Rachel makes a request of Ahab, but a sighting of Moby Dick is cause for him to refuse.
Chapter 129: The Cabin
Pip attempts to follow Ahab as he paces the deck of the ship.
Chapter 130: The Hat
Ahab's hat is stolen as he obsessively waits to spot Moby Dick.
Chapter 131: The Pequod Meets The Delight
The Pequod comes across another ship that has encountered Moby Dick.
Chapter 132: The Symphony
Ahab and Starbuck talk of their families. Ahab feels his actions are unreasonable, but cannot stop.
Chapter 133: The Chase--First Day
Moby Dick is spotted and the pursuit begins.
Chapter 134: The Chase--Second Day
Ahab comes at Moby Dick head on. Crew members are lost when things do not go as planned.
Chapter 135: The Chase--Third Day
The hunter is now the hunted as Ahab boards his boat in pursuit of Moby Dick.
The sole survivor recounts his rescue.
  • Year Published: 1851
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 9.8
  • Word Count: 221,585
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Keywords: 19th century literature, american literature, herman melville, moby dick
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