Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Stubb talks to himself, too, and in characteristic fashion, saying that of course Ahab is mad, but that Stubb will “go along with it,” as is best. Stubb sees that Starbuck is worried about Ahab’s obsession, but Stubb also feels that the best course is simply to follow orders—Stubb will follow Starbuck—and Starbuck ought to follow Ahab. Stubb leaves his place when Starbuck calls to him.
Stubb, for his part, sees the hunt for Moby Dick as a component of the larger excitement of whale-hunting itself. If hunting sperm whales is enjoyable, then hunting a large and especially devilish sperm whale is doubly exciting. Stubb sees following orders as the best means of allowing him to live the life he wants to—a whale-hunting life.
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