Study Guide

Moby-Dick Chapter 20: All Astir

By Herman Melville

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Chapter 20: All Astir

  • For the next several days, everyone is busy getting the Pequod ready for her voyage. Captain Peleg stays on the ship overseeing things and Captain Bildad is in charge of buying supplies.
  • Ishmael and Queequeg get their trunks packed and loaded on the ship, but they keep sleeping at the inn until they have to leave.
  • The ship not only needs lots of supplies, it needs lots of spares of everything that can’t be replaced once it leaves the harbor.
  • Ishmael says that it’s practically two ships rolled into one; the only things that aren’t doubled are the ship itself and the captain.
  • The person in charge of most of the supplies is Captain Bildad’s sister, who is called Aunt Charity. (Charity is actually her first name; the "Aunt" part is more of a nickname.) She’s always bringing some little thing on board that might help.
  • While the ship is being outfitted, Ishmael and Queequeg keep asking about Captain Ahab, but he never shows up. They try not to worry about it, but not knowing the man who’s going to be their captain for three years is disturbing.

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