Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 67 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael describes the process of cutting away the whale’s blubber, which proceeds by “corkscrewing away” long strips of blubber, by means of winches and long staves (or knives). The crew of the Pequod crowds over to one side of the vessel to effect this, nearly causing it to tip over, as yards upon yards of blubber are pulled from the whale and stored in the ship’s “blubber room.”
In this beautifully concise description, Ishmael implicitly compares the “cutting in” of a whale to the corkscrewing of a lemon or similar fruit—the skin is taken off in a continuous “peel,” and that peel assumes a curved shape, as the whale’s body is gradually stripped of its outer layer of blubber.
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