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Chapters 121 - 125

Chapter CXXI: Midnight - The Forecastle Bulwarks

Since Ahab will not allow the anchors to be moved, they must be lashed down with extra rope. Stubb and Flask undertake this task, discussing Pequod's fate and their captain's sanity. Flask is clearly worried, but Stubb cannot face the reality of the situation; instead, against all evidence, he insists that Ahab is not placing any of them in danger.

Chapter CXXII: Midnight Aloft - Thunder and Lightning

Meanwhile, Tashtego attempts to fasten the top-sail more securely. This chapter, only 5 lines long, gives us a glimpse of Tashtego's terrified attempts to cheer himself up as the storm rages around him: "we don't want thunder; we want rum; give us a glass of rum. Um, um um!"

Chapter CXXIII: The Musket

The crew toils away, dealing with the various disasters on board; finally, the Typhoon abates and the wind turns fair. The Pequod looks like it is finally headed out of danger as Starbuck joyfully moves the sails to the breeze and heads to Ahab's captain to tell him the good news. In front of the door to Ahab's cabin, Starbuck pauses at a rack that holds the same musket that the crazy captain used to threaten him. He picks up the musket, filled with an unexpected "evil thought." He silently asks himself "shall this crazed old man be tamely suffered to drag a whole ship's company down to doom with him?" But after agonizing for a minute, Starbuck replaces the musket in its rack (after overhearing Ahab crying out for Moby Dick in his sleep), and goes back on deck. He tells Stubb to break the news to Ahab instead.

Chapter CXXIV: The Needle

The next morning, the Pequod heads bravely away from the storm, the sun behind it ... and Ahab suddenly asks where the ship is heading. "East-sou-east," the steersman replies, and everyone suddenly realizes that something is terribly wrong: how can they be heading east if the sun is behind them? They discover that the storm has reversed the compasses. Ahab, not missing a beat, fashions a new compass out of a needle and lance-blade. Yet his "fatal pride" cannot disguise the fact that another of the ship's instruments has ominously failed.

Chapter CXXV: The Log and Line

Since the Pequod has neither normal compasses nor a quadrant, the crew must consult the "log and line:" an ancient device that trails a piece of wood in the ship's wake, determining direction. When they lower the log, unsurprisingly, another disaster occurs: the line breaks and the log floats away. "Ahab can mend all," the crazy captain announces, and tells the carpenter to make him another log. At this point, the lunatic Pip approaches, speaking nonsense about being "missing" at sea like the log. Ahab is moved; "Thou touchest my inmost center, boy," he says to Pip, and tells him that from now on they will share a cabin. "There go two daft ones," comments one sailor, "One daft with strength, the other daft with weakness." This is a fair assessment; the alliance between these two mad, prophetic characters seems fitting and inevitable.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1 - 5
Chapters 6 - 10
Chapters 11 - 15
Chapters 16 - 20
Chapters 21 - 25
Chapters 26 - 30
Chapters 31 - 35
Chapters 36 - 40
Chapters 41 - 45
Chapters 46 - 50
Chapters 51 - 55
Chapters 56 - 60
Chapters 61 - 65
Chapters 66 - 70
Chapters 71 - 75
Chapters 76 - 80
Chapters 81 - 85
Chapters 86 - 90
Chapters 91 - 95
Chapters 96 - 100
Chapters 101 - 105
Chapters 106 - 110
Chapters 111 - 115
Chapters 116 - 120
Chapters 121 - 125
Chapters 126 - 130
Chapters 131 - 135


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