Moby-Dick Chapter 59: Squid Summary
- The Pequod continues sailing northeast toward Java (Indonesia).
- One morning, Daggoo, who is on lookout duty, calls out that he’s sighted Moby Dick! It’s a full red alert and everyone to action stations.
- Everyone scurries to the boats and launches as soon as they see something in the distance.
- The creature rises up in front of the boats – it’s a "vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color" (59.4), and it has a bunch of strange undulating tentacles. Then it submerges itself again.
- Starbuck is disturbed and wishes it had been Moby Dick instead of what it is – a giant squid.
- So they all have to sail back to the ship. No hunt today. False alarm.
- Whalemen are deeply superstitious about squids, which they don’t understand very well and which they believe to be the prey of the sperm whale (this, according to a diorama we saw at the New York Natural History Museum, appears to be true), which sometimes vomits up severed squid arms in front of observers. Ick.