This is Moby Dick Chapter 8: The Pulpit (summary)
Vocabulary Words found in this chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 8: The Pulpit (Vocabulary Words)

Previous Chapter: Chapter 7: The Chapel (summary)

Not long after Ishmael sat on a bench in the Whaleman’s chapel, an old man came in through the entrance of the chapel. This man had full confidence while everyone was eyeing him. With no surprise, it was the famous father Mapple. They say he had been a sailor and a harpooner from his youth. But after many years, he dedicated his life to ministry.

It was raining hard. But he entered with no umbrella, so he’s pretty wet—he had his tarpaulin hat run down, and his plot cloth jacket was mopping the floor. One by one, he removed his hat, coat, and shoes, and then he hung them up in a little adjacent corner. And after wearing decent clothing, he approached the pulpit quietly.

Particularly, the pulpit was a tall one, and the ladder was like those used in mounting or climbing a ship from a boat at sea. The wife of a whaling captain provided this mahogany-colored ladder and donated it to the church.

After climbing up the ladder, he pulled it up little by little. Subsequently, Ishmael thought of this action as a divine isolation because he’s not letting anyone climb up after him. It was like a spiritual withdrawal from the world of a faithful man of God.

A painting hung behind the pulpit. It was a painting of a ship in a terrible storm, and an angel gazes down upon it from the sunny clouds of the sky. The pulpit’s forepart had the shape of a ship’s prow, and there sat the Holy Bible.

Whaleman's chapel's pulpit Moby Dick Chapter 8 Summary.
Whaleman’s chapel’s pulpit.

Ishmael thinks that a pulpit should be shaped just like that. Because just as the prow is at the front of a ship, the pulpit’s also at the “front” of mankind. Meaning, the pulpit and with it, God’s Word, both lead all men in life.

End of Moby Dick Chapter 8: The Pulpit (summary)

Next Chapter: Chapter 9: The Sermon (summary)

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