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Chapter Four: The Counterpane opens with the following pair of sentences:

pg. 27: Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost thought I had been his wife.

Ishmael drones on for a couple pages about this one time he was sent to bed as punishment when he was a kid, which is probably full of super-deep metaphors that I'm missing. He eventually gets back to talking about the matter at hand.

pg. 29: At length, by dint of much wriggling, and loud and incessant expostulations upon the unbecomingness of his hugging a fellow male in that matrimonial sort of style, I succeeded in extracting a grunt...

Ishmael, you spent the last chapter asserting your heterosexuality to the point where I honestly expected you to conclude your sentences with "no homo." Methinks you doth protest too much.

After a couple of pages' worth of attempts, Ishmael wakes up Queequeg and gets disentangled. Queequeg tells Ishmael that he'll get dressed first and leave, so Ishmael can dress in private. Ishmael repays his consideration by continuing to behave like a gawking, slackjawed tourist.

Queequeg gets dressed hat-first, then crawls under the bed to put on his boots in privacy. Ishmael then notices a vital detail about the room they are staying in.

pg. 30: Seeing, now, that there were no curtains to the window, and that the street being very narrow, the house opposite commanded a plain view into that room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure Queequeg made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots on; I begged him as well as I could, to accelerate his toilette somewhat, and particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as possible.


Queequeg complies and gets his pants on. He also shaves his face with the head of his harpoon because he is a badass.

In Chapter Five: Breakfast, Ishmael and Queequeg eat breakfast. Shocking turn of events, I know. Ishmael expects all the sailors staying at the inn to trade salty sea-stories over their morning meal, but it turns out they're all shy guys. We will leave aside Ishmael's continued expectations that everyone around him exists for his entertainment to focus once again on Queequeg.

pg. 33: But as for Queequeg–why, Queequeg sat there among them–at the head of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle. To be sure I cannot say much for his breeding. His greatest admirer could not have cordially justified his bringing his harpoon into breakfast with him, and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table with it, to the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the beefsteaks towards him. But that was certainly very coolly done by him, and every one knows that in most people's estimation, to do anything coolly is to do it genteelly.

You are wrong, Ishmael. As Queequeg's greatest admirer, I can, in fact, cordially justify Queequeg bringing his harpoon to breakfast and using it to spear his steaks. I can cordially justify it because it is totally badass, and if I could eat my bacon with a harpoon, I damn well would. You, sir, have no appreciation for anything excellent.

In conclusion, Queequeg is the best ever.

Chapter Six: The Street is where Melville pretends he is Hugo and describes New Bedford as though it were Paris. Only, y'know, more racist.

pg. 34: In these last-mentioned haunts you see only sailors; but in New Bedford, actual cannibals stand chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom yet carry on their bones unholy flesh.

Oh, Ishmael, you poor, sheltered bastard. Please become less ignorant as the novel progresses.


Other adventures in Moby Dick reading include:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three (You Are Here)
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part Fourteen
Part Fifteen
Part Sixteen
Part Seventeen
Part Eighteen
Part Nineteen
Part Twenty
Part Twenty-One
Part Twenty-Two


ambrmerlinus: Portrait of a young white man with a flowing blond mohawk, in profile. (Default)

February 2012

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