Moby-Dick is an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaling ship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby-Dick, a white whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaling ships know of Moby-Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to exact revenge. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - Loomings
Ishmael takes to the sea as a substitute for
This is one of the most famous opening lines in literature!
Did you know that you can look up any word in the book or in the questions and answer choices? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Use this feature to look up the word "spleen."
According to the text, why doesn't Ishmael go to sea as a passenger?
The beginning of a novel is typically called the exposition. In the exposition, the author introduces the reader to the main characters and the setting. Keep this in mind as you read.
The way Ishmael describes himself shows that he cannot be held down to one place for too long. He is a sailor at heart and feels at home on the open sea. Notice other words and phrases Ishamel uses to describe himself. This will help you better understand his character.
Ishmael welcomes the whaling voyage because he longs for
Chapter 2 - The Carpet-Bag
Since we are still in the beginning of the novel, the setting is being developed through descriptions. This story takes place in the 19th century, and Ishamel is currently in New Bedford, Massachusetts. This is what the town looked like during this time period. Notice other aspects of the setting as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
Melville most likely describes an ominous setting to create a(n) ____________ mood in the narrative.
Chapter 3 - The Spouter-Inn
In 2-3 sentences, describe how the image of the whale attacking the ship is similar to the description of the painting Ishmael notices in the inn.
Study this image then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on this dialogue, how does Ishmael feel about sharing a room with the harpooner?
This story takes place during a time when racial prejudice was pervasive. Do you think if the harpooner was not "dark complexioned" that Ishmael would have different feelings toward him?
Considering the context, "no yoking" most likely means
Ishmael is a stubborn man. The fact that he would rather sleep on a bench instead of a comfortable bed shows that he is fixed in his conclusions about the harpooner.
Ishmael is cautious about the harpooner because he believes the harpooner is
The landlord appeases Ishmael's concerns about the harpooner by telling him that the man pays his bills "regular." Men who had financial means at that time were rarely seen as dangerous.
Which line from the text solidifies Ishmael's concerns about the harpooner?
The fact that Ishmael uses the phrase "good coat of tropical tanning" shows that he is a sailor. Notice other words and phrases he uses that show his profession.
A tomahawk is a type of axe that was generally used by Native Americans and European colonials in North America. Do you think Queequeg has a dark complexion because he is Native American? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on this dialogue, Ishmael believes that Queequeg is trying to ___________ him.
Chapter 4 - The Counterpane
Ishmael tells this anecdote to
Use the define feature to learn what "abed" means.
Ishmael takes the time to observe and comment on Queequeg's way of getting dressed to show that Queequeg is
"Pantaloons" is an 18th and 19th century term used to describe men's pants. This is what men wore at this time. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 5 - Breakfast
This is odd. Why do you think the sailors are silent? Do they know something Ishmael doesn't?
Queequeg is a strong character and clearly represents an archetype. Watch this video and figure out which archetype you think he is. (This annotation contains a video)
Which archetype best represents Queequeg's persona?
Chapter 6 - The Street
According to the text, what makes Bedford "beautiful and bountiful?"
The descriptions of the women of Bedford bring a romantic mood to the text. This creates a shift from the former rugged, adventurous mood.
Chapter 7 - The Chapel
According to the text, who is buried in the chapel?
Since this text is set in the 19th century, you will notice archaic language that is not used today. "Oh! ye" is one example. As you read, notice other examples of archaic language and use the context of the story to figure out what they mean.
Chapter 8 - The Pulpit
How has Melville structured this text?
The story is progressing, and Melville has purposefully structured the way the story is being told. Watch this video to learn about text structure then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
According to the descriptions in this paragraph, why do you think sailors relate to pastor Mapple's sermons?
Pastor Mapple has decorated his church and pulpit to look like a ship. As you read, consider why he did this.
Chapter 9 - The Sermon
Mapple most likely uses this Bible story to convey his message because
Pastor Mapple is preaching a biblical story about Jonah. Read an excerpt from the bible to understand this reference then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
Melville most likely includes this line to
Novels written centuries ago in America and in England often contain biblical excerpts and Christian anecdotes. These readings can be dense. If you do not understand a sentence you have read, go back and reread it until you understand its meaning. This is what good readers do.
The author makes Pastor Mapple _______ to enhance the drama of the story.
Based on the way Ishmael describes Pastor Mapple, how does he feel about him?
Chapter 10 - A Bosom Friend
Considering the way Ishmael reacted when he first met Queequeg, why does he take so much time to observe him now?
Which line from the text shows that Ishmael is taking a deeper look at Queequeg and now likes him?
Ishmael and Queequeg's relationship is beginning to evolve. How is it changing?
Throughout history, many cultures have worshipped wooden dolls. This is typically found in non-Christian cultures, so Ishmael is trying to find a compromise. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 11 - Nightgown
Why does Ishmael refer to Queequeg as a "real friend"?
Ishmael most likely "begged him" to tell stories of his native land because Ishmael longs for adventure. It is clear why he is drawn to Queequeg.
Chapter 12 - Biographical
Explain the two reasons Ishmael wants Queequeg to accompany him to Nantucket.
Ishmael and Queequeg's relationship seems to be solidified. They are acting like a real couple because of how affectionate they are toward each other.
Chapter 13 - Wheelbarrow
Authors often include figurative language such as similes and metaphors in their stories to create images in the readers mind. Watch this video to learn how to figure out what similes and metaphors mean. (This annotation contains a video)
This simile illuminates the ___________ of the boat.
Chapter 14 - Nantucket
Nantucket is an island thirty minutes south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. (This annotation contains an image)
These descriptions about Nantucket make the island sound like a
Chapter 15 - Chowder
Through Ishmael's travels, Melville is teaching the reader about New England culture. Chowder is a popular fish soup in New England. These descriptions of the setting and culture help the reader understand the character's experiences. (This annotation contains an image)
The author stopped the narrative to describe the setting in order to
Why does Ishmael narrate about the abundance of fish and chowder?
How do you think Queequeg feels about Mrs. Hussey taking his harpoon?
Chapter 16 - The Ship
The phrase "curiously carved" shows that the deck of the ship is a
The quarter-deck is the part of a ship's upper deck near the stern, traditionally reserved for officers. This is what it looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
Many of the sailors tell stories about whales that almost sound like myths. This repetition of these stories show that a theme is emerging in the story. Watch this video to learn how to identify theme. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Captain Peleg ask Ishmael if he has "been to sea before"?
Quakers are members of a family of religious movements collectively known as the Religious Society of Friends. They are members of a Christian denomination. Ishmael has discovered that Quakers own the ship. (This annotation contains an image)
In 3-4 sentences, explain what you have learned about Captain Peleg and captain Bildad. Make sure to keep track of the characters as you read.
Consider what you have learned from the whale stories and from the phrase "… if we had a lucky voyage." What central idea has emerged so far in the story?
In this text, the term "lay" refers to profits and pay.
Pequod is the name of the ship they are using to hunt the whales. This is what a typical whaling ship looked like in the 19th century. Visualize the characters on this ship as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text shows why Ishmael wants to meet Captain Ahab?
Chapter 17 - The Ramadan
The fact that Queequeg practices Ramadan, shows that he is
Here, we learn something new about Queequeg. Watch President Obama explain what Ramadan is then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on Ishmael's reaction to Queequeg's meditation, how does he feel about Queequeg's religious practice?
Queequeg's ability to meditate for a sustained amount of time frightens Ishmael. It is obvious that he has never seen this before. Will this bring him closer to Queequeg, or will it push him away?
This anecdote solidifies that Queequeg is a
Use the define feature to learn what "dyspepsia" means.
Chapter 18 - His Mark
Given the context, "hard pushed" most likely means
The captains are testing Queequeg to see his level of skill as a harpooner. They are not impressed that he is a non-Christian. Read to find out if they let him go on the voyage.
Chapter 19 - The Prophet
What does the term "ye" most likely mean?
Smallpox is a serious and contagious disease due to a virus that many 19th century Americans died from. It is dangerous to encounter someone with this disease.
Which line from the text shows that this stranger is trying to warn Ishmael and Queequeg about the dangers of sailing with Captain Ahab?
The introduction of this character into the story creates a sense of mystery and suspense. His presence signals that something bad may happen on the ship.
Chapter 20 - All Astir
Why does Melville include this line?
You are learning a lot about sailing terminology through this story. It is said that people refer to ships as "her" because of gender disparities where women were often compared to inanimate objects.
Chapter 21 - Going Aboard
Sailing from Nantucket to the Indian and Pacific Oceans is a great feat. Look at this map to see where these oceans are in relate to the East Coast of the United States. (This annotation contains a link)
What does this dialogue tell you about the condition of the ship?
It is odd for a captain to not appear when ship is ready to leave port. This is a bad sign.
Chapter 22 - Merry Christmas
Who gave Mr. Starbuck the signal that they are ready to go?
This piece of personification shows
Sailors often have inspirational saying and songs they sing while they are traveling. The sound of this quote brings Ishmael comfort.
Chapter 23 - The Lee Shore
What does this line reveal about Bulkington?
Due to his ruthless nature, Ishmael believes Bulkington will die at sea. Bulkington presents another archetype. He is a rogue, diehard sailor. The "live fast, die young" types typically always die in works of literature. Later in the text, confirm whether or not this assertion is correct.
Chapter 24 - The Advocate
In 2-3 sentences, explain how Ishmael feels about whaling. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
As presented in these facts, it was common for powerful European leaders to deploy whaling ships because they brought such economic wealth to countries.
The number "1" represents a footnote which is used because Melville is citing a fact that actually occurred in history. The footnotes can be found at the end of this Curriculet.
In these lines, what is Ishmael saying about a whale ship?
Chapter 26 - Knights and Squires
Why does Starbuck, the first mate, utter these words?
Unlike the other men aboard the ship, Starbuck seems to be logical and level-headed.
Chapter 27 - Knights and Squires
Based on the description of Stubb, explain how he is similar to the fictional Jack Sparrow.
Johnny Depp is a famous actor who is well-know for playing Captain Jack Sparrow in the film "The Pirates of the Carribbean." Watch this clip of Depp playing sparrow then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Melville takes the time to describe the characters in great detail. Why does he make this choice?
Consider the context of the time. If this novel had been written today, would Melville be using different language?
Chapter 28 - Ahab
Melville includes this line about Ahab's scar to
This comment solidifies the fact that the pirates are superstitious. Many of them have never "laid eyes upon wild Ahab," yet they make up wild stories about him. This adds to the adventurous element of the narrative.
Chapter 29 - Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb
Consider what you have read about how Captain Ahab runs his ship. In 2-3 sentences, explain how he is similar to the fictional Captain Davy Jones. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Watch this clip from the film "Pirates of the Caribbean" then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 30 - The Pipe
A bulwark is an extension of a ship's sides above the level of the deck that serves as a defensive wall. (This annotation contains an image)
The fact that Ishmael uses the word "soliloquized" to describe Ahab's words, shows that Ishmael reveres him as a ______ man.
Chapter 31 - Queen Mab
Read this monologue from William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
This chapter is titled Queen Mab because
Chapter 32 - Cetology
Cetology is the branch of marine mammal science that studies the approximately eighty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoise in the scientific order Cetacea. In this chapter, Ishmael attempts to classify whales and make sense of their anatomy.
Use a whale chart such as this to identify some of the whales Ishmael discusses in this chapter. It will help you visualize his findings and scientific terms. You can easily find one with a google search. (This annotation contains an image)
According to this observation, we can tell that
What do the sailors actions reveal about whale oil?
Ishmael is describing Cetology in three books: Folio, Octavo, and Duodecimo.
Ishmael puts a great deal of energy into understanding whale anatomy. In 2-3 sentences, explain why this study benefits him.
According to this line, whales have different oils. Do you think this affects the type of whales Captain Ahab and his crew will hunt?
Chapter 33 - The Specksynder
This chapter discusses the whaling industry. Watch this brief history of whaling in the United States to gain context. (This annotation contains a video)
This line reveals that sailing is not just for pleasure; it is a
Chapter 34 - The Cabin-Table
This imagery reveals that the men eat in
What psychological influence do you think these silent dinners have on the sailors? How does this affect the culture of the ship?
Separating the sailors from the harpooners creates
Teamwork is the act of like-minded people striving toward the same goal. Since the culture of this ship lacks the spirit of teamwork, it is possible that these men will encounter trouble. As you continue to read, notice conflicts that arise.
Chapter 35 - The Mast-Head
Based on his descriptions, how does Ishmael feel about keeping post on the masthead?
The mast-head (or masthead) is where sailors post-up at the top of the ship's mast to look out for whales. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text proves that Ishmael considers posting at the masthead a serious job?
Ishmael is going on an epic rant that is critical in nature. What does this mindset reveal about his mood?
Chapter 36 - The Quarter-Deck
In popular folklore, pirates often shout and sing when they are on a ship. Listen to this song and think about why they do this? (This annotation contains a video)
Ahab most likely speaks to the men in this manner to
Based on this line, what is Captain Ahab's mission?
Captain Ahab gives this impassioned speech to Starbuck because he will stop at nothing to capture Moby Dick. He solely seeks revenge since the whale took his leg.
Why do you think Melville decided not to include Ishmael's opinion about hunting Moby Dick?
Based on the harpooner's passionate yelling and proclamations, it is clear that they are completely on board with hunting Moby Dick. This ceremony also solidifies the beginning of their journey.
Chapter 38 - Dusk
Which line from the text shows that Starbuck believes the crew is doomed to die?
The term "wake" refers to the track of waves left by a ship or boat moving through the water. Watch this video to see what it looks like. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 40 - Midnight, Forecastle
How has Melville structured this chapter?
What does "strike the bell eight" mean? Why are they striking a bell?
Which conflict are the sailors about to face?
The ethnicity of the crew members has been revealed in this chapter. They are quite a diverse group since they are from all over the world.
Based on this dialogue, we can tell the sailors are preparing the ship for the impending storm. Read to find out if they survive.
Based on the context, who do you think the "big white God" is? Explain your thinking.
Chapter 41 - Moby Dick
Moby Dick is a sperm whale which is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. Watch this video to see what it looks like and how it moves. (This annotation contains a video)
What does this line reveal about people's perspectives on the sperm whale?
What do these comments about differing perspectives reveal about Ishmael's way of thinking?
This simile is used to show the reader what it must have been like for Ahab when Moby Dick took his leg. What image came to your mind as you read the simile?
Which line from the text shows that Captain Ahab has been meticulously devising a plan to capture Moby Dick?
Ishmael believes that Ahab is on this crusade because of the immense pain he felt when Moby Dick bit and took his leg.
Chapter 42 - The Whiteness of The Whale
Which central idea has been revealed through Captain Ahab's intentions?
Ishmael is creating a commentary on "whiteness." He is appalled by Moby Dick because the creature is white which is known to be a color symbolizing virtue and glory. He questions why a vicious animal was made white.
What does this line reveal about Ishmael's thinking?
Latitude and longitude lines are part of a geographic coordinate system that enables every location on the Earth to be specified by a set of numbers or letters. This reference shows that Ishmael is a sailor. This is how he thinks about the world. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on this line, explain how Ishmael feels about Moby Dick. Explain your reasoning in 2-3 sentences.
Based on his descriptions, think about how Ishmael's view of Moby Dick is similar or different from the crew's view.
Chapter 44 - The Chart
A leviathan is a large sea monster or creature. Ishmael is making reference to the leviathans to show how illusive Moby Dick is. (This annotation contains an image)
What are Captain Ahab and the sailors preoccupied with?
Based on his descriptions, how does Ishmael view Captain Ahab?
Ishmael is dissecting Ahab's behavior and reactions. He is trying to figure him out.
Chapter 45 - The Affidavit
Given the context, "summary thump" most likely means
Ishmael is citing these stories to bring credit to the proclamations he is making. Why does he feel the need to do that?
The sailors are about to embark on their journey of hunting Moby Dick. Watch this trailer from Ron Howard's new film "In the Heart of the Sea," then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
In 2-3 sentences, explain how the movie clip compares to the preparation the sailors have taken as they embark on their journey to hunt Moby Dick. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Ishmael compares Moby Dick to Procopius's sea monster to
In Ishmael's narartive, Melville uses long run on sentences that are not grammatically correct. This makes it difficult to follow his train of thought. To improve your comprehension, reread long sentences and keep track of their events in your head.
Chapter 46 - Surmises
In this chapter, Ishmael suggests that Captain Ahab manipulates his crew in order to get what he wants. Watch this video to learn about manipulation tactics then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Captain Ahab's manipulative behavior reveal about his agenda?
Chapter 47 - The Mat-Maker
In this chapter, Ishlael and Queequeg make a sword-map which is a map made from a sword. It is artful and beautiful. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Ishmael feel about making the sword-map with Queequeg?
Chapter 48 - The First Lowering
The phrase "charm upon the crew" signals that the new emerging crew changed the _________ of the ship.
The secret crew is an interesting new development. Do you think their presence will enhance or deter from the chances of catching Moby Dick?
The phrase "unconscious skill" most likely means
The sailors take up gazing into the sea and smoking to calm their nerves as they wait for action. This story element is reminiscent of the phrase "calm before the storm."
You are learning a great deal about the anatomy of boats and ships. A row lock is a hinge that keeps the paddles connected to the boat. This reference to the state of the row-locks shows that the sailors are moving very fast toward the whales. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Starbuck instruct Queequeg to stand up?
Chapter 49 - The Hyena
Based on his reaction to the hunt, how does Ishmael feel about this voyage?
Capsizing is every sailor's worst nightmare. It is when a boat turns over in water. The capsizing of the row-boat has deeply frightened Ishmael. How will he respond to this fear? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 50 - Ahab’s Boat and Crew. Fedallah
This phrase shows that the other members of the crew are not questioning the "subordinate phantom's" presence on the ship. They are preoccupied with their mission of catching Moby Dick. However, Ishmael thinks differently, and he is questioning every move Captain Ahab makes.
Why does Ishmael refer to Fedallah as a "subordinate phantom"?
Chapter 51 - The Spirit-Spout
Spouting is when a whale uses its lungs and nose to push water out of its body. Watch this video to see what a whale's spout looks like. (This annotation contains a video)
Why are the men at the mast-head looking for spouts in the water?
Chapter 52 - The Albatross
The Pequod has encountered another ship, and Captain Ahab is asking if they have seen Moby Dick.
Which line from the text shows a more vulnerable side to Captain Ahab?
Chapter 53 - The Gam
This narrative so far has presented many realistic elements. However, Ishmael now introduces the idea of pirates as real, live people of the sea. How does this change your view of the genre?
In 2-3 sentences explain what a "Gam" is. Use samples from Ishmael's descriptions in your explanation.
Chapter 54 - The Town-Ho’s Story
Based on the context and your knowledge of solving words, "mariners" means
Good readers solve words they do not know by using different strategies. One strategy is to identify the root word. The root word of "mariners" is "marine," which refers to the sea. Use this strategy to solve words as you read.
Why do the sailors refer to each other as "boys" when they are grown men?
In this chapter, Ishmael has broken away from the main narrative to tell a story about other sailors encountering Moby Dick. As you read, think about why he's telling this anecdote.
There are references to Spanish in this anecdote because Ishmael originally told this story to friends in Lima. Lima is the capital city of Peru. (This annotation contains an image)
Which literary device is Melville employing in this description?
Why are the sailors referred to as "mutineers"?
A "forecastle" is the forward part of a ship below the deck which is traditionally used as the crew's living quarters. (This annotation contains an image)
These actions and feelings reveal that the men are uneasy. There is turmoil amongst them, and they are not getting along.
What does "change his berth for a boat" mean?
Explain why you think Ishmael is telling this story to the crew. Consider their mission and what happened to Captain Ahab.
This encounter with Moby Dick is similar to Captain Ahab's encounter with the whale. Consider why this anecdote is being told to the crew.
Why does Ishmael affirm that this story is true?
The fact that Ishmael addresses the crew as "gentlemen" rather than "boys" shows that he is different and more refined. As you read, notice other words and phrases Ishmael uses that set him apart from the other characters.
Chapter 55 - Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
Ishmael is most likely describing whales in this chapter to
Once again, Ishmael is teaching us about the history of whales. "Goldsmith's Animated Nature" is a real book that contains hand-drawn sketches of whales. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 56 - Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes
What does the title suggest about people's depictions of whales?
Melville most likely has Ishmael toil over the accuracy of whale drawings to
Chapter 57 - Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in Stars
What does this line reveal about whales?
Ishmael is comparing whale hunters to Iroquois who are a historically powerful and important northeast Native American confederacy. This comparison reveals his prejudice toward, what he would call, "savages." (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 58 - Brit
Consider the topics Ishmael chooses to explore. How is he different from the other members of the crew?
Why do people regard sea animals in this manner?
Chapter 59 - Squid
As the men approach Java, Daggoo thinks he spots Moby Dick. Read to find out if it is him.
Why is Moby Dick referred to as a "white ghost"?
Chapter 60 - The Line
The line is a rope that attaches from the harpoon to a whale that is stabbed. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Ishmael dedicate an entire chapter to describing the line?
Chapter 61 - Stubb Kills a Whale
The imagery present in this paragraph brings a sense of __________ to the text.
This is the crew's first whale sighting. How do you think Ahab feels about this encounter?
What do these descriptions reveal about the nature of killing a whale?
This action shows that Stubb sees the killing of the whale as a victory. He is gazing at the whale as if he had just completed a great accomplishment.
Chapter 63 - The Crotch
Watch these men harpoon and successfully capture a sperm whale then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Use your knowledge of harpooning. According to the video and the text, explain how much skill is needed to successfully capture a whale. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Chapter 64 - Stubb’s Supper
Which action shows that Stubb may be an ethical sailor?
Stubb has caught and killed a whale. Many people believe whale hunting is unethical. Watch this video to learn about this controversial topic. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Stubb command Fleece, the cook, to do?
The "fellow critters" are the sharks that are eating the whale carcass that is tied to the side of the ship.
Stubb eats all parts of the whale. This is an ethical choice since none of the whale parts will go to waste. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Fleece comparing Stubb to a shark?
Chapter 65 - The Whale as a Dish
Which central idea do these examples reveal about whaling?
Whale meat is considered a delicacy in many countries. Watch this video to learn why people enjoy it and what it tastes like. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 67 - Cutting In
"Cutting in" is the processes of butchering a whale after it has been killed.
Does reading this make you feel squeamish? Do you think Melville wants readers to feel this way or is his writing simply factual?
Chapter 68 - The Blanket
A whale's blubber rests
Read the first section of this article about blubber to learn more about the whale's anatomy. (This annotation contains a link)
Chapter 69 - The Funeral
Giving the whale carcass a "funeral" shows that the crew has some respect for whales. (This annotation contains an image)
The fact that the crew refers to the whale as a "ghost" reveals a central idea about
Chapter 70 - The Sphynx
Why do the men keep the whale's head?
Why is Ahab talking to the whale's head?
Chapter 71 - The Jeroboam’s Story
The tragedy that happened on Captain Mayhew's ship is reminiscent of a
Gabriel appears to have supernatural powers. How does this new story element change the realistic nature of the narrative?
What does this encounter signal to Ahab?
Gabriel managed to get the letter from Ahab's hands. What is the significance of the letter?
Chapter 72 - The Monkey-Rope
How did Melville craft this portion of text?
Think back to what you learned about how authors structure a text then respond to the following question.
Chapter 73 - Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk Over Him
Right whales are three species of large baleen whales of the genus Eubalaena: the North Atlantic right whale, the North Pacific right whale and the southern right whale. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Ishmael refers to the Right Whales as "inferior creatures"?
How do the members of the crew view Fedallah?
These are wild accusations. Are the men overreacting or being superstitious?
Chapter 74 - The Sperm Whale’s Head — Contrasted View
Think about how far the crew has come. They now have a Sperm Whale head and a Right Whale head on either side of the boat. Now that they are gaining some traction, do you think they will find Moby Dick?
Ishmael is using the whale heads as a platform to discuss
As you learn more about cetology, consider how large a whale is. Study this image to gain perspective of how large a whale is in comparison to humans. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think sailors extract the ivory tooth from the whale's jaw?
Chapter 75 - The Right Whale’s Head — Contrasted View
How does Ishmael's world knowledge make him a complex character?
This is an interesting fact. Whale bones were used for fashion. This is a corset made from whale bones. This type of corset was popular in the 18th century during Queen Anne's reign. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 76 - The Battering-Ram
These cetological descriptions show that the whale's anatomy is
Despite his interest in whale anatomy, Ishmael still refers to them as "monsters." This shows complexity in his way of thinking. Notice if his view of the whale changes throughout the story.
Chapter 78 - Cistern and Buckets
Use the define feature to learn what "tun" means.
The predicament that Tashtego is in brings a sense of __________ to the text since things have been running smoothly.
What does the phrase "agile obstetrics" mean?
Based on Queequeg's actions, how might he now be perceived by the crew and Melville's readers?
Chapter 79 - The Prairie
How can someone "read" a whale's brow?
Chapter 80 - The Nut
Ishmael is exploring the whale's
Chapter 81 - The Pequod Meets The Virgin
Ishmael must be referencing the Dutch and Germans because the crew from the Jungfrau is from these countries. He is saying that they are not successful in catching whales.
Why might the captain of the Junfrau be brining coffee to the Pequod?
Which line from the text shows that this whale may be old and slow?
Think about what makes an effective team. The men are working together, but they yell at each other the whole way through.
Why is Ishmael asking these questions?
The "phantoms" Ishmael is referencing are the shadows of the three boats. Instead of the whale being seen as a phantom, the humans are seen as phantoms because of this successful capture.
Why is the Pequod "aslant"?
The Pequod has managed to make another successful catch. This are on the "up and up." Could a conflict be brewing now that things are going well?
Chapter 82 - The Honor and Glory of Whaling
Consider what you know about Greek mythology. In 2-3 sentences, explain the comparison Ishmael is making to Greek figures such as Perseus and Andromeda.
Perseus and Andromedo are figures from a Greek myth who fight sea monsters. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 83 - Jonah Historically Regarded
Which literary device is Melville employing by making reference to The Book of Jonah?
Ishmael is making another biblical reference to explain people's views of whales. The Book of Jonah is one of the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah son of Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 84 - Pitchpoling
Which line from the text shows that Queequeg has successfully harpooned the whale?
What does this simile mean?
Chapter 85 - The Fountain
What does this line reveal about Ishmael's perspective?
This chapter consists mostly of Ishmael's train of thought. He does not scientifically know the reasons or mechanics of a whale's spout, so he is hypothesizing.
Chapter 86 - The Tail
How does Ishmael feel about a whale's tail compared to the rest of its body?
This comparison shows how large a whale's tail is. (This annotation contains an image)
In 2-3 sentences, explain why Melville references Satan in this chapter about a whale's tail. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Is Ishmael suggesting that a whale's tail is as precious as ivory?
Chapter 87 - The Great Armada
This line shows that whaling brings
Sailors go where the whales are. The western coast of Java is near the country Indonesia. It is famous for having an abundance of sperm whales. (This annotation contains an image)
The phrase "disposed to renounce the chase" most likely means
Referring to this group of whales as a "flock of simple sheep" shows that they have not yet encountered Moby Dick.
This line reveals that the whales are
How is this encounter with whales different from previous encounters?
Why do you think the whales decided to suddenly leave in a hurry? Do they sense danger?
How many whales did the crew successful capture during this encounter?
Chapter 88 - Schools and Schoolmasters
Read this article about how fish form schools then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
How are schools of fish different from the schools whales form? Use evidence from the text and the article to support your assertion.
Chapter 89 - Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish
According to Ishmael, what is the difference between a "loose-fish" and a "fast-fish"?
Use the define feature to learn what "doxology" means.
Chapter 90 - Heads or Tails
Which law about whaling did England put in place?
Under this law, some whalers have lost all their profits to wealthy Englanders. Does this seem fair?
Chapter 91 - The Pequod Meets the Rose-Bud
Captain Ahab has asked every captain they have encountered about spotting Moby Dick. Perhaps this time he will get good news.
What have you learned about French sailors?
Stubb appears to be ________ the frenchmen.
Stubb is not known to be a nice fellow. Read to find out why he is being so nice to the French whalers.
Why did Stubb convince the french whalers to release the second whale?
Ambergis is found in a dead whale's intestines and is known to be quite valuable. Freshly produced ambergris has a sweet scent. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 92 - Ambergris
A pirate is a person who attacks and robs ships at sea. The crew aboard the Pequod have shown their first signs of being somewhat like pirates. What did they do to show this?
What is ambergris used for?
Chapter 93 - The Castaway
Pip is the Pequod's cabin boy. His role is to wait on a ship's officers or passengers, so he has no business attempting to whale with the experienced crew. (This annotation contains an image)
What did Pip do to put himself in danger?
Chapter 94 - A Squeeze of the Hand
Which line from the text shows that Ishmael enjoys squeezing the whale's spermaceti back into liquid?
Although it is not explicitly stated, Ishmael is once again showing homosexual tendencies. Notice what he does with his shipmates as they squeeze.
Chapter 95 - The Cassock
A cassock is an item of Christian clerical clothing used by the clergy of Roman Catholics. It is also another name for a whale's penis. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why Ishmael uses the term "cassock" as a name for a whale's penis.
Chapter 96 - The Try-Works
What does this section reveal about the art of whaling?
Try-works are a critical part of the whaling process because they are a set of pots and furnaces that boil the blubber and derive all the oil from it. This allows the whalers to make money.
Chapter 98 - Stowing Down and Clearing Up
Read this oil to learn more about the whale oil process and what it is used for. (This annotation contains a link)
Why might it be dangerous to scoot the casks across a slippery deck?
Chapter 99 - The Doubloon
What motivates Captain Ahab to do these actions?
"Doubloon" is the name of an English ship the Pequod has encountered. Do you think these sailors will have news of Moby Dick?
Zodiac signs are the twelve 30 degree sectors of the ecliptic. Their names are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The men see these signs on the Doubloon. (This annotation contains an image)
Stubb's actions have proven him to be
Chapter 100 - Leg and Arm
Which line from the text shows that a change is occurring in the story?
This narration shows strength in Ahab's character and determination.
What good news does Captain Boomer reveal to Captain Ahab?
Rum toddies were a popular drink in the 18th and 19th centuries. A toddie is tea with alcohol in it. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the English Captain feel about hunting Moby Dick?
The crew finally has Moby Dick's coordinates. They are off to find the whale!
Chapter 101 - The Decanter
Chapter 102 - A Bower in the Arsacides
In this chapter, Ishmael explores a whale's bones. This image shows the skeletal structure of a Sperm Whale. Use it to anchor your knowledge as you read the chapter. (This annotation contains an image)
Ishmael is asking these questions to establish his
Ishmael addresses the reader directly. This is another sign that he is trying to establish his credibility since he is speaking about topics most sailors do not thoroughly think through.
Why does Melville insert this anecdote into this chapter?
Chapter 103 - Measurement of The Whale’s Skeleton
What does this line reveal about the whale's anatomy?
Examine this image. Why is Ishmael comparing the spine to Pompey's Pillar? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 104 - The Fossil Whale
The scientific term "Cetacean" means a marine mammal that is a whale, dolphin, or porpoise. How do you think Ishmael acquired all of these terms?
These historical facts reveal that Ishmael is
Chapter 105 - Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish? — Will He Perish?
Peruse this website called "Save the Whales" then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
Ishmael claims that the whales existence and size has not altered in history. Do you agree or disagree with this assertion? Use evidence from the text and from the website to support your assertion.
Ishmael's claims in this chapter show that his information about whale cetology and existence is
Despite having some inaccurate information, Ishmael proves again and again that he has vast world knowledge. Goa is a coastal region in India. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 106 - Ahab's Leg
What does Ahab ask the carpenter to do?
Ahab also employees the blacksmith to help with his new leg. A blacksmith is a person who makes and repairs things in iron by hand.
Chapter 107 - The Carpenter
The blacksmith is working at Captain Ahab's leg as if it were a machine. We can infer this based on the tools he uses.
Chapter 108 - Ahab and the Carpenter
Based on the literary elements that begin this chapter, Melville structured it as a
Based on the dialogue, how is Captain Ahab treating the carpenter?
The carpenter is referring to Captain Ahab as queer. Queer has multiple meanings. Consider the context. What does the carpenter mean by queer? Use the define feature to guide your thinking.
Chapter 109 - Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin
Which line from the text shows that Captain Ahab is threatening Starbuck's life?
A musket is an infantryman's light gun with a long barrel, typically smooth-bored, muzzleloading, and fired from the shoulder. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 110 - Queequeg in His Coffin
Why does Queeuqeg instruct the crew to build him a coffin?
Consider what you know about Queequeg's ethnicity. Why does he desire a canoe? (This annotation contains an image)
What significance do the tattoos have for Queequeg?
Ishmael is showing his racial prejudice once again. Despite being a worldly man, he still sees Queequeg and his background as being "grotesque" and barbaric.
Chapter 112 - The Blacksmith
This line shows that the blacksmith is at sea due to his
This story about the blacksmith's background shows that many men go to sea because they are running from their problems on land. This supports the themes about insanity and desperation.
Chapter 113 - The Forge
What does the captian's request reveal about his personality?
Why does Captain Ahab employee the blacksmith to build a new harpoon and not other members of the crew?
Chapter 114 - The Gilder
Use the define feature to learn what a "gilder" is.
Why does Ishmael compare the sea to "gilt"?
Chapter 115 - The Pequod Meets The Bachelor
Why is the Pequod "somber" about its travels?
This description brings an exotic element to the narrative. The women are described as "olive-hued" and they have left their native land to marry the sailors. This ship is filled with adventure. How is the culture of the ship different from the Pequod?
Chapter 116 - The Dying Whale
Here, we see a different side of Captain Ahab. What difference do these words reveal?
What do these words expressed to the dying whale reveal about Ahab?
Chapter 118 - The Quadrant
What is Ahab using the quadrant for?
To be precise, Ahab is looking for the ship's latitudinal coordinates.
Chapter 119 - The Candles
The ship has encountered a typhoon which is a very destructive tropical storm. This is the firm storm the crew has encountered. Something new is brewing in the narrative. Read to find out what happens. (This annotation contains an image)
Melville includes a typhoon to create a sense of
Starbuck sees Queequeg's flames as a sign that
Since the majority of the men on the ship are superstitious, seeing Queequeg's satanic flames is alarming. This may cause them to respond negatively to him.
Captain Ahab has inspired the men. We are seeing a more of his powerful side, and he is no longer feeling hopeless. They may just be successful in capturing Moby Dick after all.
Captain Ahab ceases this opportunity to banish all _________ from the ship and the crew as they hunt Moby Dick.
Chapter 121 - Midnight — The Forecastle Bulwarks
This phrase indicates that Starbuck is apprehensive and worried about Ahab's behavior. It appears that he has lost confidence in his captain. How will this affect his role in the hunt?
How is Stubb feeling about the ship's quest for the great white whale?
Chapter 123 - The Musket
Based on these lines, how is Starbuck feeling toward Captain Ahab?
Why is Starbuck thinking about Captain Ahab sleeping?
Chapter 124 - The Needle
The conflicts that are arising now bring us to the turning point in the story. The men awake to find their compass ruined from the storm. A compass is very important to a sailor because it is used to determine precise direction. Will this set them back? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Ahab plan to do with the needle?
Chapter 125 - The Log and Line
A log line is an analogy device used to determine a boats speed. This is one of the only resources the men have left o continue their journey. (This annotation contains an image)
Due to these events, which mood has been created in the narrative?
Chapter 126 - The Life-Buoy
The "wild thrilling sounds" the sailors hear supports the theme about
The presence of mermaids in the narrative solidifies the adventurous nature of this sailing expedition. Pirate stories often include this fantasy creature which brings whimsical elements to the story. (This annotation contains an image)
What happens to the man from the masthead?
Chapter 127 - The Deck
The crew has turned the coffin into a buoy which is a floating device. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 128 - The Pequod Meets the Rachel
This news is sure to bring a smile to Ahab's face, but why does the Rachel say she has bad news?
What has happened to the captain's son?
Chapter 129 - The Cabin
This line reads like
Moby Dick is near and Ahab is pacing the deck. What does this action show about his mood?
Chapter 130 - The Hat
It appears that the health of some of the crew members is beginning to deteriorate. Could they be going insane now that they are nearing the whale's location?
What motivates Ahab to assume the role of "watchman"?
What does Ishmael think about the hawk taking Captain Ahab's hat?
This seems to be an ongoing theme in pirate stories. Why do captains care so much about their hats?
Chapter 132 - The Symphony
Which line from the text show that Ahab is in great despair over Moby Dick's elusiveness?
Why is Ahab listing these experiences? What message is he trying to get across to Starbuck?
Chapter 133 - The Chase — First Day
The title of this chapter indicates that the crew finally have a chance to capture Moby Dick. Based on what you have read so far, make a prediction about how the novel will end.
Ishmael's description of the water creates a sense of ____________ in the story.
In this context, "sounded" most likely means
This is an image of a bridge that was naturally formed in the state of Virginia. Ishmael is comparing this image to the whale in order to paint an image in the reader's mind. (This annotation contains an image)
Ishmael uses this simile to show
Use the define feature to learn what "prostration" means.
Despite not having captured Moby Dick, the men are patiently waiting for their next opportunity. Do you think they will seize the whale in the next chapter? Read to find out what happens.
Chapter 134 - The Chase — Second Day
What disadvantage are the men now facing as a result of encountering Moby Dick?
What does this imagery show about Moby Dick?
In sailor lingo, "lower away" means lower the boat and pursue the target. The men are taking their second stab at killing the great whale.
Despite his broken peg leg, this line shows Ahab's __________ spirit.
This dialogue shows that the crew are in trouble. Their harpoons and lines are tangled, and Moby Dick seems to be winning once again.
Chapter 135 - The Chase — Third Day
Based on the image above and what you have read so far about the chase, predict how the story will end.
Examine this famous image depicting the chase that you are reading then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains an image)
By comparing the sharks to vultures, what is Ishmael suggesting will happen?
Vultures are scavenging birds of prey and are known for feeding on the corpses of the dead. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text shows that the crew are gaining some success in their attempts to harpoon Moby Dick?
As soon as the men gain some traction, Moby Dick comes back with vengeance. The suspense in the story is at an all time high.
Read on for the epilogue.
Moby Dick has won this battle by