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By Terence McKenna

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More important, if we understand Ahab and Ishmael as irreparably disrupted, the final section shows how Moby-Dick’s portrayals of interracial companionship reveal intimations of repair and consolation through Ishmael and Ahab’s relationships with Pip and Queequeg. These scenes of racially embodied blackness, defined by bodily touch, bring our attention to how subjects, after feeling totally unraveled, must confront this destructive unmaking with a full sense of risk that may or may not allow for better social exchanges or necessary recalibrations of self and world, or that, worse yet, may prove to be another elusive ideal that only discloses further trepidation.

32 More important, explorers, traders, and missionaries who sustained contacts with dark peoples in the Americas and Africa and who needed to learn languages and to grow very familiar with various groups’ cultures and rituals could not deny the possibility of moments of nightmarish Introduction 11 uncertainty. The more European outsiders had to become insiders, the more the likelihood of disturbing and unexpected feelings of boundary loss. ”34 Christopher Herbert demonstrates that this self-affirmation in the face of psychological challenges, spiritual warfare, and real violence is less likely than figures like Daniel Defoe’s Crusoe or Ellis concede.

Melville foregrounds Pip’s social estrangement as well as Pip’s unwillingness to participate in the Pequod’s mode of production (seeking, capturing, killing, and producing the whale as a commodity). Pip is overwhelmed; he jumps again. This time the hard facts of the ocean’s physical 20 Knowing the “Bottomless Deep” 21 and traumatic violence set in, and the prospect of the dark depths forever defines “Black Little Pip” (121). Pip cannot swim. While drowning, a preeminent brightness in the otherwise dark water calls to Pip’s soul.

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