Moby Dick Chapters 26-31 Questions and Answers

Herman Melville

Chapters 26-31 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Although Starbuck is as brave as any man, what does he fear?

2. In Melville’s tribute to man at the end of Chapter XXVI, what is the source of the common man’s “august dignity?”

3. Who are the three mates’ harpooners, respectively?

4. How is Tashtego both like and unlike his ancestors?

5. To what animal is Daggoo compared and why is that simile appropriate?

6. What is an “isolato”?

7. “Ahab stood before them with a crucifixion in his face.” Explain the meaning of this description.

8. In what way is Ahab like a bare, old oak that sends out a few green sprouts?

9. Describe the Merman of Stubb’s dream.

10. In what way is this dream prophetic?

Answers
1. Starbuck cannot stand up to “an enraged and mighty man,” a hint that he will not be able to stand up to Ahab.

2. “Divine equality” that radiates from God is the source of the common man’s dignity.

3. Queequeg is Starbuck’s harponer; Stubb’s is Tashtego; and Flask’s is Daggoo.

4. Tashtego is a “proud warrior hunter,” but he hunts whales not moose.

5. The six foot five Daggoo is appropriately compared to a giraffe, another creature of Africa.
6. An “isolato” is both literally and figuratively an islander, living separate from the mainland.

7. This description emphasizes Ahab’s suffering and misery. It may also foreshadow his doom.

8. As the weather grew nicer, Ahab came close to smiling.

9. The Merman is humpbacked and his rump is stuck full of marlin spikes.

10. Moby Dick is humpbacked, and stuck with harpoons. Also, the Merman instructs Stubb not to kick back at Ahab; so Stubb, like Starbuck, will not stand up to him.