Herman Melville

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Moby-Dick can help.

Moby-Dick: Chapter 95 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael describes the skin of the whale’s penis, or “grandissimus,” which is used by the mincer (one who grounds down bits of whale blubber) as a kind of cassock, or priest’s robe. The mincer pulls the skin off the whale penis and cuts holes in it, wearing it to go about his mincing, and Ishmael believes that the man looks like a kind of jovial, comical Pope, wearing his holy robe taken from a most unholy part of the whale.
An example of bawdy, slapstick humor in the novel. Readers at the time might have been especially offended by the idea that characters in the novel were expressly mocking Christian traditions—although these particular traditions are associated with the Catholic church, and many of the sailors on the vessel appear to be New England protestants.
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
Nature and Man Theme Icon
Race, Fellowship, and Enslavement Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon