Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 13 – Wheelbarrow

Chapter 13 of the classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville, summarized in verse. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments.


The morning comes and Ishmael and Queequeg
purchase passage to Nantucket, from where
they will embark on their whale adventure.

Aboard The Moss a bumpkin finds Queequeg’s
appearance unacceptable, Queequeg
tosses him across the deck. The captain

is displeased. That same foolish vagabond
fails in his footing and falls overboard.
It is Queequeg who leaps into the sea,

swims out and down, finds the limp body, pulls
the man to safety. Few doubt that Queequeg
will bring salvation, least of all Ishmael.

One comment

  1. Southern Fried Scientist · September 23, 2010

    In retrospect, this little poem really doesn’t do the chapter justice, at all. Wheelbarrow really drives home the point that not only is Queequeg the toughest SOB in Nantucket, but that he’s a better man than most.

    I think Melville may have developed a massive crush on his own character, or, for all those nerds out there reading, is Queequeg the original Mary Sue character?

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