1851.Moby-Dick Herman Melville

Moby-Dick (1851)
Aurhor: Herman Melville

Chapter 44 The Chart

This chapter has Captain Ahab in his cabin, poring over the charts of "all four oceans" [presumably the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic oceans] with a view to "the more certain accomplishment of that monomaniac thought of his soul." And this thought, of course, was revenge on the white whale.
Therefore, Ahab would have the best chance of spotting Moby Dick in the equatorial waters of the Pacific sometime between December and June. However, the Pequod sailed from Nantucket at Christmastime in December -- too late to make full use of those six months of that year for finding the white whale. [Note that Melville suggests that Ahab decided the season in which to begin the voyage, but owners, not captains, are more likely to decide this.] So Ahab will bide his time for a year, plotting a course from Nantucket around the African Cape (rather than the South American Cape), then through the Indian Ocean to the Sea of Japan, whaling all the while, hoping to see Moby Dick by chance -- and finally sailing south to arrive at the equator in December of the following year where the big white whale is sure to be waiting. All this plotting, scheming, and conniving caused Ahab insufferable anguish. So tormented was his sleep that "a wild cry would be heard through the ship; and with glaring eyes Ahab would burst from his room, as though escaping from a bed that was on fire". Melville / Ishmael then gives us a next-to-incomprehensible psychological / metaphysical diagnosis of Ahab's condition:

The text above are the summary by the editor of http://www.melville.org/diCurcio/44.htm and it is not original text. some text on digital archive says "coast of Japan" nearby volcanic islands. so it is not refer to "the Sea of Japan".

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