The carpenter of the Pequod is, Ishmael assures us, a unique individual.
He’s also a workman experienced in a variety of woodworking techniques necessary on board ship.
He works on deck at a huge carpentry bench kept against the try-works at all times except when they’re actually slaughtering a whale.
The carpenter’s duties on the ship are wide-ranging and include dentistry, ear-piercing, dispensing medicines, and pretty much anything else anybody needs.
But, despite this variety of duties, the carpenter’s not an especially brainy guy.
In fact, the carpenter seems strangely unaffected by things—Ishmael describes him as a rolling stone that not only didn’t gather moss, but also rubbed off everything else it originally had on it. The carpenter seems disconnected from the world.
Still, the carpenter has something like a soul—enough for him to have a soliloquy, anyway.