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In Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick Ishmael searches for knowledge in diverse ways; he views the world not only through his senses but symbolically and metaphorically. At one point, he is tied to the pagan harpooner Queequeg by a "monkey-rope," and it is his duty to use this rope to pull Queequeg free from the sharks surrounding the dead whale that Queequeg is butchering when Queequeg slips from his perch atop the whale. Should he fail, Queequeg's weight will pull them both into the shark-filled waters. Ishmael ponders: "I seemed distinctly to perceive that my own individuality was now merged in a joint stock company of two: that my free will had received a mortal wound; and that another's mistake or misfortune might plunge innocent me into unmerited disaster and death. . . "



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