|Illustration for Chapter 16 by London artist Alison Turnbull|
In Chapter 18, Ishmael brings Queequeg back to the ship, as he promised the captains he would, so that Queequeg can be added to the ship's roster. The old men have immediate misgivings about adding a heathen like Queequeg to the crew, but eagerly sign him up after quick display of the islander's harpooning skills.
|Chapter 16 reader, Chad Harbach|
George Cotkin, in Dive Deeper, notes that Melville named his whaling ship after the Pequot Indians, the first American Indian tribe to be targeted for extermination by settlers of the New World. Is Melville telling his readers that the Pequod is as doomed as its namesake tribe? It will not be the last such hint from Melville before the ship finally leaves port to meet its destiny.
The drawing of New Zealand Chief Ko-Towatowa, on the right, is thought by some to be an inspiration for Melville's Queequeg. It was used to illustrate an 1845 book pertaining to a "voyage of exploration" conducted by an American ship a few years earlier.
(You will notice that I do not make reference to readers of Chapters 17-19: Warren Cole, David Coslett, and Mark Sealey, respectively. Even though these names do not seem to be particularly common, I have been unable to determine which person by those names are working on this project.)