Moby-Dick | Study Guide

Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick | Chapter 35 | Summary



Ishmael is about to take his first turn at the masthead, looking constantly at the sea for signs of whales. He considers how their masthead is different from a "crow's nest" and how "young philosophers" might not do a diligent job of sighting the whales. He admits that it is difficult to maintain your focus on watching for whales when you are thinking about other things.


This chapter includes a little humor in that Ishmael acknowledges it is hard to pay attention to your job when you're constantly getting caught up in philosophical thoughts. Because Ishmael's own story is a fabric of tangential thoughts, philosophies, and musings interwoven with plot, he seems to be talking about himself here.

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