Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 114 Summary & Analysis

In this peaceful chapter, Ishmael describes the calms of the ocean off Japan, where local whaling boats go after smaller prey. Ishmael notes that all on the ship, including Starbuck, Stubb, and even Ahab himself, appear touched by the “golden” light and glow of the day, although Ahab also infuses this golden feeling with the deep melancholy of his “monomaniac” spirit. Stubb comments that it is so beautiful, he feels he has always been as happy as he is at that moment.
Another fugue chapter, in which the light of the Pacific is made to seem especially peaceful. It's notable, though, that Ahab’s monomania is so intense, it serves to darken the sunlight—rather than the sunlight brightening Ahab’s disposition, as it does the other sailors’. Note how the alternation between dramatic and peaceful chapters in the novel mimics the realities of whaling, which involves lots of waiting punctuated by brief periods of intense danger and activity.
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