Chapter 128, “The Pequod Meets the Rachel”
The Pequod meets another Nantucket ship, the Rachel, who has had a tragic encounter with Moby Dick the day before. Ahab is so delighted with the news, he does not relate to Captain Gardiner’s grief at losing his twelve-year old son in one of the boats that went after the White Whale. The boat was lost, perhaps dragged some way by the whale, and Gardiner has been searching everywhere. He begs to hire Ahab’s boat so both may search for the missing boy together. Ahab refuses, brushes Gardiner off, and begins the chase for Moby Dick on his own.
Analysis Chapter 128
Jeremiah 3:15-17 states, "Rachel, weeping for her children, refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone.” Rachel, wife of the patriarch Jacob, had a tragic life, married late and had difficulty conceiving children. The ship is appropriately named for her. Ahab in refusing to help Captain Gardiner, who appeals to Ahab as a father and friend, has become as monstrous as the symbol of evil he seeks in the White Whale. His humanity is completely gone.