• Year Published: 1851.
  • Pages: 543.

Moby-Dick Summary of Chapters

Chapters 1-20

The narration begins with Ishmael’s dreaming about a great adventure on the sea. He listens to the stories of men who crave for another day on the open sea. He wants to be a part of some great adventure too, and that’s when he decides to go Nantucket.

Unfortunately, he arrives late and misses the ferry to Nantucket. He has to spend few nights in New Bedford. And this is where Ishmael’s adventure actually begins – in the local Spouter-Inn he meets an interesting and unusual harpooner, Queequeg. Initially, the two are very distant and untrustworthy to each other, but as the narration moves forward, they become good friends as they sailed off to the great sea adventure.

Chapters 21-40

Ishmael and Queequeg are leaving to Nantucket on a cold Christmas day. The narration in the first sequence of these chapters is focused on introducing the crew from Pequod, the ship with which Ishmael and Queequeg sailed off to Nantucket.

The variety of new characters on the ship brings a dynamic into the narration. There is not a major event, except for psychological portraying of the ship’s crew. The most interesting persona, however, is the captain Ahab, who is in the search of a great whale, named Moby-Dick.

At the end of this sequence, Ishmael informs us about the science of whales and the whaling industry. Also, there are more dramatic scenes which emphasize the role of the ship’s crew members and reveals Ahab’s goal behind this voyage – to find Moby- Dick.

Chapters 41-60

Here, we are introduced to the great Moby- Dick, the personification of all evil, according to Ahab. Also, the first sequence of chapters doesn’t contain almost any action at all – we are witnessing Ishmael’s reflections upon the past events and especially the characters he is surrounded by.

The first significant action happens with the first lowering when we discover the presence of another shipping crew, which was obviously hidden with Ahab’s help. This brings a significant change in the dynamics of the narration.


Chapters 61-80

The beginning of this chapter sequence introduces the greatest action so far – catching a whale. This opens another detail-oriented series of describing various elements related to whales.

The emphasis of this sequence

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