Study Guide

Moby-Dick Chapter 107: The Carpenter

By Herman Melville

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Chapter 107: The Carpenter

  • 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.

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