Moby Dick Chapters 79-81 Summary and Analysis
by Herman Melville

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Chapters 79-81 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Derrick De Deer: captain of the Jungfrau

Jungfrau (Virgin): German ship empty of whale oil

Ishmael describes the physiognomy of the whale. The sperm whale has no nose, which gives the creature an added grandeur. Its brow gives it a “high and mighty God-like dignity.” The sperm whale is a fit object for pagan worship.

The brain is encased in a skull, which when scaled down, is not unlike man’s. The whale’s hump rises over one of its largest vertebrae. This hump indicates the “indomitableness” of the sperm whale.

The next whale hunt, involving both the Jungfrau and the Pequod, illustrates such indomitableness. The Jungfrau has no oil, and Captain Derrick De Deer approaches the Pequod with the idea of getting some lamp oil from her. However, just as his boat comes near, a pod of whales is spotted.

One blind, crippled old bull struggles along at the rear of the pod. Derrick’s four boats and the Pequod’s three compete to capture this large whale. Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo harpoon the whale first. The whale is killed and secured to the Pequod, but the whale begins to sink, pulling the Pequod over sideways. Queequeg manages to cut through the fluke chains, and the whale sinks.

Derrick and his men chase after a finback, mistaking it for a sperm whale. The finback is an uncapturable species because of his speed and agility.

Discussion and Analysis
Once again, Ishmael expresses his appreciation of the great beauty of the whale. He sees similarities between this creature and man, suggesting the unity of man and nature.

Remarking on the inscrutability of the whale’s brow, Ishmael tells us, “I but put that brow before you. Read it if you...

(The entire section is 442 words.)