MOBY DICK Ch 85,86,88
By: Megan Alberse, Bailey Ernst, and Alexa Ramirez
Ishmael ends the chapter with an announcement that he cannot describe what he's just described "The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it." Despite his opinion , Ishmael declares, "I know him [the whale] not, and never will."
The whales communicate their feelings through the tail and communicate to the others in their herd through their tail movements
What the tail is used for
“Five great motions are peculiar to it. First, when used as a fin for progression; Second, when used as a mace in battle; Third, in sweeping; Fourth, in lobtailing; Fifth, in peaking flukes.”
is the lord and master of that school technically known as the
- Ishmael describes the behavior of whales when they gather in herds. There are two types of whale "schools," divided by gender.
- The all-female schools, which Ishmael describes as harem-schools, are often accompanied by a single, huge male, much larger than any of the females, which Ishmael calls the "Grand Turk."
- The harem-school rambles around through different waters, and the Grand Turk protects the females from any obnoxious young male whales who think he’s going to mate with one of them.
“Should any unwarrantably pert young Leviathan coming that way,
presume to draw confidentially close to one of the ladies, with what
prodigious fury the Bashaw assails him, and chases him away!”
“They fence with their long lower jaws, sometimes locking them
together, and so striving for the supremacy like elks that warringly
interweave their antlers”
- Sometimes the males seem to duel for love of the females by jawing at each other.
- The Grand Turk mates with many different females, but doesn’t care at all for his children.
- Eventually, in extreme old age, the Grand Turk disbands the harem entirely and becomes a lone whale.
- At this stage in the Grand Turk’s life, the fishermen don’t hunt him much, because his oil isn’t plentiful enough to make it worth the trouble.
- The all-male schools of young whales are much more violent and hot-headed and very dangerous for whaling ships to encounter.
- The other difference between the schools is how they behave when one of them is attacked – the males abandon their fellows to their fates, while the females cluster so closely around an injured schoolmate that they often become victims, too.