Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 17 – The Ramadan

Chapter 17 of Herman Melville’s classic – Moby Dick. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments.

The Ramadan

No peace for pagans nor god-fearing men,
they are all broken. So, without judgement,
He leaves Queequeg to his tribal sabbath.

At the end of the day, Ishmael returns
to find the door locked and the room silent.
For all his banging, nothing stirs within.

Ishmael grabs the ax from the wall, charges
and is stopped by the landlady who will
have none wreck her inn for any reason.

She gets a key. Inside, Queequeg is still,
silently praying to his idols, gods
as much as Ishmael’s. He rises and eats.

One comment

  1. Southern Fried Scientist · October 24, 2010

    It’s said that after the wreck of the Essex on November 20th, Captain Pollard would lock himself in his room and fast every year on that day. Seeing as the Pequod doesn’t leave port until December 25, and it takes several weeks for the ship to be loaded, perhaps Queequeg’s Ramadan is really in remembrance of the whaleship Essex?

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