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Word Count: 1,016
Plot Ishmael the narrator announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling vessel He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler He travels to New Bedford Massachusetts where he stays in a whalers inn Since the inn is rather full he has to share a bed with a harpooner from the South Pacific named Queequeg At first repulsed by Queequegs strange habits and shocking appearance Ishmael eventually comes to appreciate the mans generosity and kind spirit and the two decide to seek work on a whaling vessel together They take a ferry to Nantucket the traditional capital of the whaling industry There they secure berths on the Pequod a savage looking ship adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales Peleg and Bildad the Pequods Quaker owners drive a hard bargain in terms of salary They also mention the ships mysterious captain Ahab who is still recovering from losing his leg in an encounter with a sperm whale on his last voyage The Pequod leaves Nantucket on Christmas Day with a crew made up of men from many different countries and races Soon the ship is in warmer waters and Ahab makes his first appearance on deck balancing gingerly on his false leg He announces his desire to pursue and kill Moby Dickthe legendary great white whale who took his leg because he sees this whale as the embodiment of evil Ahab nails a gold doubloon to the mast and declares that it will be the prize for the first man to sight the whale As the Pequod sails toward the southern tip of Africa whales are sighted and unsuccessfully hunted During the hunt a group of men none of them anyone on the ship has seen before on the voyage emerges from the hold The mens leader is an exotic looking man named Fedallah These men constitute Ahabs private harpoon crew smuggled aboard in defiance of Bildad
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