The crotch alluded to on a previous page deserves independent mention. Moby-Dick (Chap. 63: The Crotch) by Herman Melville

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No wonder that to many ship owners, whaling is but a losing concern; for it is the harpooneer that makes the voyage, and if you take the breath out of his body how can you expect to find it there when most wanted! Moby-Dick (Chap. 62: The Dart) by Herman Melville

Weirdly, this chapter is actually just be a bit of advice to the whaling industry. There is no deeper meaning at work—Melville, via Ishmael, is simply trying to help making whaling more efficient.

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And now abating in his flurry, the whale once more rolled out into view; surging from side to side; spasmodically dilating and contracting his spout-hole, with sharp, cracking, agonized respirations. At last, gush after gush of clotted red gore, as if it had been the purple lees of red wine, shot into the frighted air; and falling back again, ran dripping down his motionless flanks into the sea. His heart had burst!

"He's dead, Mr. Stubb," said Daggoo.
Moby-Dick (Chap. 61: Stubbs Kills a Whale) by Herman Melville

It’s not the most pleasant business.

Especially for the whale.

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When reaching far over the bow, Stubb slowly churned his long sharp lance into the fish, and kept it there, carefully churning and churning, as if cautiously seeking to feel after some gold watch that the whale might have swallowed, and which he was fearful of breaking ere he could hook it out. But that gold watch he sought was the innermost life of the fish. And now it is struck; for, starting from his trance into that unspeakable thing called his "flurry," the monster horribly wallowed in his blood, overwrapped himself in impenetrable, mad, boiling spray, so that the imperilled craft, instantly dropping astern, had much ado blindly to struggle out from that phrensied twilight into the clear air of the day. Moby-Dick (Chap. 61: Stubbs Kills a Whale) by Herman Melville

Stubbs is seeking the arteries of oxygenated blood that whales keep in reserve for long dives. These were known, collectively, as the Whale’s “life.”

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*It will be seen in some other place of what a very light substance the entire interior of the sperm whale's enormous head consists. Though apparently the most massive, it is by far the most buoyant part about him. So that with ease he elevates it in the air, and invariably does so when going at his utmost speed. Besides, such is the breadth of the upper part of the front of his head, and such the tapering cut-water formation of the lower part, that by obliquely elevating his head, he thereby may be said to transform himself from a bluff-bowed sluggish galliot into a sharppointed New York pilot-boat. Moby-Dick (Chap. 61: Stubbs Kills a Whale) by Herman Melville

Spoiler Alert. The Sperm Whale’s head is filled with Spermaceti—the liquid gold that whalers are after.

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No resolution could withstand it; in that dreamy mood losing all consciousness, at last my soul went out of my body Moby-Dick (Chap. 61: Stubbs Kills a Whale) by Herman Melville

Standing watch for whales, Ishmael is in the contemplative sort of reverie he described in Chapter 35, “The Masthead”.

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If to Starbuck the apparition of the Squid was a thing of portents, to Queequeg it was quite a different object.

"When you see him 'quid," said the savage, honing his harpoon in the bow of his hoisted boat, "then you quick see him 'parm whale."
Moby-Dick (Chap. 61: Stubbs Kills a Whale) by Herman Melville

Queequeq may pray to an idol and tattoo his face with pagan iconography, but he is more scientifically minded than the christian Starbuck.

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And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side. Moby-Dick (Chap. 60: The Line) by Herman Melville

An existential argument. What makes life truly scary is that we are approaching death without understanding how to make life meaningful. The absence of meaning, which is life’s true terror, is present regardless of circumstances—whether you are relaxing by the fire at home or skipping across the ocean after whales in a tiny boat full of sharp objects and a whizzing maelstrom of rope.

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Can you escape being made a Mazeppa of Moby-Dick (Chap. 60: The Line) by Herman Melville

In Byron’s poem Mazeppa the title character is stripped naked and tied Behind a wild horse which is then set free.

Byron’s Mazeppa is based on a Ukranian Cossack named Ivan Mazepa.

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And, like the six burghers of Calais before King Edward, the six men composing the crew pull into the jaws of death, with a halter around every neck, as you may say Moby-Dick (Chap. 60: The Line) by Herman Melville

The Six Burghers of Calais surrendered to Edward III in 1347 during the Hundred Years War.

Old Eddy arrived at Calais with a massive army and a message — he would spare the city if its leaders came out and handed him the keys to the city gate and castle while wearing nooses around their necks.

The Burghers of Calais, by Rhodin

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