|Chapter 13 art by New York artist Alexis Rockman|
"We cannibals must help these Christians." - Queequeg, Chapter 13
Chapter 13 (The Wheelbarrow) is one in which Melville uses humor to make a point about cultural differences and how anyone can be confused by those differences.
Melville has Queequeg tell Ishmael two stories that vividly illustrate the kind of foolishness that can happen to a person immersed in a culture not his own. The first recounts Queequeg's reaction to the first wheelbarrow he ever set eyes on; the second is about a white man attending a wedding on Queequeg's island. Our cannibal, it seems, is a very wise man.
This chapter is wonderfully read by Mama Tokus, a British singer/poet who breathes real life into Melville's words. She does so well with the reading, in fact, that I plan to learn more about her soon.
This short, two-page chapter is read by Nathanial Philbrick, the American author who won the National Book Award in 2000 for In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.
Chapter 15 (Chowder) describes the Nantucket lodging that Queequeg and Ishmael snare for themselves - an inn that serves a quality and quantity of clam and cod chowder that a hungry man should not be reading about. The innkeeper's wife is in charge of The Try Pot inn upon their arrival, but she is more than a match for Queequeg, insisting that he leave his harpoon downstairs as she allows no weapons in the sleeping quarters. Before retiring for the night, in anticipation of finding themselves a whaling ship in the morning, the pair order bowls of both chowders for their breakfasts.
Sadly, I cannot determine which Peter Burgess reads this chapter, too many legitimate possibilities, but he does not sound British.