Moby-Dick Questions Chs. 118-122: What is the function of a quadrant
What is the function of a quadrant? Why specifically does Ahab destroy the quadrant, and what is the significance of his action? Why does Ahab curse the quadrant? Why does he prefer the “ship’s compass, and the level dead-reckoning, by log and by line”? (p. 544 ) Compare Starbuck’s and Stubb’s responses to Ahab destroying the quadrant: what imagery does each use? Compare Starbuck’s language with that of Ishmael while facing the Try-Works in his dream-state (ch. 96). In ch. 119, what are “candles”? Why does the narrative turn into a stage play in this chapter? What significance do you attach to the following omens: the typhoon (p. 546 ); Ahab’s stove boat and Starbuck’s comment to Stubb (p. 548 ); the yard-arms (p. 549 ); the reference to God writing on the wall prophesizing the destruction of Babylon from ch. 5 of the Book of Daniel (p. 549 ); the image of the harpooners (p. 549 ); what Ahab tells the crew and their response (p. 551-552 )? Why does Queequeg’s tattoo burn “like Satanic blue flames on his body”? (p. 549 ) Read Ahab’s speeches on pp. 550-552 [382-384] carefully; what is he saying? What does he mean by the “personified impersonal”? What does he say he will respond and submit to, and what does he refuse to submit to? What does he mean by, “I am darkness leaping out of light, leaping out of thee”? Compare this color symbolism with that in the “Whiteness of the Whale,” ch. 42. Why does Starbuck tell Ahab that God is against him?