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by Herman Melville

Ishmael Timeline and Summary

  • Ishmael, depressed, decides to take a whaling voyage and travels to Nantucket to find a ship.
  • At the Spouter-Inn, Ishmael meets a South Sea Islander harpooneer named Queequeg, with whom he has to share a bed.
  • Ishmael and Queequeg become best friends and bosom companions – Queequeg proclaims that they’re "married," so this friendship may not be exactly platonic.
  • Ishmael and Queequeg join the crew of a whaling ship, the Pequod, for a three-year voyage to the Pacific and back.
  • Ishmael, along with the rest of the Pequod’s men, swears to take part in Captain Ahab’s crazy revenge quest on the mysterious white whale, Moby Dick.
  • As a common sailor on the Pequod, Ishmael starts fading into the background a bit.
  • Ishmael tells the reader a variety of information about whales and whaling ships.
  • When the Pequod is destroyed, Ishmael is the only survivor of the wreck. He lives to tell the tale of Moby-Dick.