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by Herman Melville

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 OK 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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