In Moby Dick, what happens when the Pequod meets an English whaler, the Samuel Enderby? Both ships have encountered Moby Dick. In what way are the attitudes of the two captains different? Why does Queequeg ask the ship's carpenter to build a coffin for Queequeg? The Pequod meets the Rachel. It has had a run-in with Moby Dick, who escaped dragging a boat with the captain's son in it. The Captain begs Ahab to help him find his son. What is Ahab’s answer? 

Boomer and Ahab differ in their attitudes toward Moby Dick in that Boomer is grateful to be alive and chooses not to continue hunting the whale, while Ahab is obsessed with revenge and cares about nothing but pursuing and killing Moby Dick.

Expert Answers

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Along its journey, the Pequod encounters a whaler from London named the Samuel Enderby. The captain of the English whaling ship is Captain Boomer, who has lost an arm due to an encounter with Moby Dick.

Although Captain Boomer and Captain Ahab are comparable in the sense they have both lost limbs to the same whale, their attitudes toward Moby Dick are very different. Captain Boomer encounters the whale a second time, but having learned a valuable lesson from losing his arm, he chooses not to pursue Moby Dick again. He is grateful to be alive and chooses to focus on the positive and not tempt fate by continuing to hunt Moby Dick.

Contrariwise, Captain Ahab is infuriated by the loss of his leg and insult to his ego. He continues to obsessively hunt the object of his hatred. Rather than making the best of an unfortunate event like Captain Boomer, Captain Ahab does not care about anything other than getting revenge.

Queequeg becomes ill and is convinced he is going to die, so he asks the carpenter of the Pequod to build him a coffin. He fills the coffin with his treasured possessions and lies in it to check the fit. He refuses to eat or drink. Queequeg later decides he has unfinished business on land and wills himself back to health.

The Pequod encounters a whaling ship from Nantucket called the Rachel. Captain Ahab asks the ship's captain, Captain Gardiner, if he has seen Moby Dick. Captain Gardiner confirms that he has seen the whale and he tells Captain Ahab that his son and one of his boats were lost at sea while pursuing Moby Dick. Captain Gardiner desperately begs Captain Ahab to help him find his lost son, but Captain Ahab, enveloped in his all-consuming need for revenge, refuses to help the devastated father. He feels helping Captain Gardiner would waste time that could be spent tracking down Moby Dick.

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