Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 4

By Margi Preus

Chapter 4

The Hunt

  • The next day, the boys decide that Denzo is the only one of them who has enough authority to talk to the Captain.
  • But Manjiro has so many questions, so he decides to ask questions of the first person he sees.
  • And that happens to be the Captain, who, surprisingly, gets irritated at Manjiro for being shy about asking questions.
  • He tells Manjiro that asking questions is the only way to learn.
  • (If you're like Manjiro, you're starting to like the Captain at this point.)
  • He also tells Manjiro to stop bowing.
  • Manjiro is so overcome with thoughts and emotions that he decides he needs some me-time in this isolated spot on the boat.
  • Only this secluded spot happens to be another, small boat that some of the sailors and the Captain are taking out onto the ocean.
  • So the Captain tells him to start rowing with the other men.
  • While they're rowing, a guy called Jolly starts tossing racial slurs Manjiro's way.
  • Manjiro just keeps on doing what he's doing, though; he can't understand what the guy is saying anyway.
  • But the Captain keys into Jolly's words and tells him to get back to work: There's a whale to catch, yo.
  • The men hook the whale, which takes the little boat for a bumpy ride, and lots of water splashes on board.
  • Manjiro quickly takes a bucket and starts to throw water out of the boat; he also throws a bucket of water on some rope that's burning up from all the whale's tugging.
  • The Captain is impressed by Manjiro's quick thinking.
  • By the way, Jolly may be a jerk, but dude can seriously harpoon a whale—which is what he does to the tugging whale.
  • The men bring the whale back to the John Howland.
  • Manjiro's disturbed, though. The way the whale was killed seems so wrong to him (he's a Buddhist).
  • The whale is such a large and amazing animal; it deserves respect, and shouldn't have to die the way it did,
  • At least, that's what Manjiro thinks.
  • But then, he can't get over the thrill of being out at sea and catching the whale.
  • Dilemma…
  • While they're rowing back to the ship, Jolly's ramping up his racist taunts toward Manjiro.
  • The other guys come to Manjiro's defense, though, and so does the Captain, who tells everyone to treat Manjiro with respect because he's proved himself.
  • Then they start asking for Manjiro's name.
  • Eventually, after some bad translation, they come up with Manjiro's new whaling name: John Mung.
  • Everyone's happy about it except for Jolly.