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by Herman Melville
Events / Chapter 93: The Castaway
Moby-Dick Chapter 93: The Castaway Summary
A few days after the Pequod meets the Rose-bud, something happens to the little black boy Pip, whom you might remember as the tambourine-player in Chapter 40. Pip and Dough-Boy look relatively similar, except for their different skin colors, but Pip is a much jollier, in-love-with-life, sparkling young man. Unfortunately, being on the whaling voyage seems to dampen his enthusiasm a bit—and it’s going to affect him even more before the end of the story, Ishmael hints. In the affair of the ambergris, one of Stubb’s oarsmen strains his hand, and so Stubb enlists Pip as a substitute rower for a while. Pip does okay the first time he goes out in the boat, although Stubb can tell he’s not very brave. The second time Pip goes out, Tashtego harpoons a whale, and the whale strikes the boat right under Pip’s seat. Pip freaks out and jumps out of the boat, getting himself so entangled in the line that it looks like he’s going to be strangled in the water. Tashtego and Stubb are forced to cut the line to save Pip and the whale escapes. All the sailors curse Pip’s foolishness. Stubb tries to explain to Pip when it’s okay to abandon the boat, but he gives up and just orders Pip to stay in the boat no matter what. He reminds Pip that the whale is worth more than Pip would be if sold as a slave in the South. Unfortunately, next time Pip goes out in the boat, he leaps out again, although this time he doesn’t get tangled up in the line. Stubb and Tashtego ignore Pip and keep pursuing the whale, leaving Pip stranded in the middle of the ocean. Stubb didn’t really mean to endanger Pip’s life—he assumed that one of the other boats, which were behind, would pick him up—but those boats sight other whales and go after them. The Pequod itself rescues Pip, merely by chance, and he’s never the same again.
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