Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 101 Summary & Analysis

In another aside, Ishmael discusses the hospitality he once later received on the “Sammy,” long after his time with Ahab—it was off the “Patagonian coast,” and the crew of the Sammy was so generous with beef and alcohol that Ishmael remembers it to this day. During the course of his “researches” into whaling history, Ishmael has found that Dutch and English whalers used to bring along, in the 1700s, enormous quantities of meat, bread, and beer, perhaps to make the sailors’ lives easier, or perhaps because the profits from whaling were so large. Ishmael laments the fact that the Pequod was run not as a “party ship” but instead as a vessel singularly devoted to the pursuit of the White Whale.
Once again, Ishmael references a time after the events of Moby Dick are completed, when he has occasion to come into contact with other sailing vessels, far better stocked than the Pequod. In general, it appears that the Pequod has been prepared with a kind of Puritanical value-system—very little alcohol, very little good food. Perhaps this has to do with Bildad and Peleg’s religious views, or perhaps with Ahab’s single-minded desire to hunt the whale, and to do nothing else aboard the ship.
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