Moby Dick

While Ishmael is watching Queequeg dressing, washing, shaving and eating, he comes to an important realisation about himself and all 'civilised' people. What is realisation? Do you agree? Why (not).

from chapter 3

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Melville portrays the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael as a perverse romance, placing the two men in bed together and even sleeping with one another in an affectionate manner. The intent of this is not to serious suggest homoeroticism, but rather to demonstrate that the patterns of behavior demonstrated by Queequeg are unconventional, as when he dresses himself by first putting on his boots. The comparison of Queequeg to a creature in the state of metamorphosis is apt, showing him to be a person in the state of transition, neither entirely part of a savage world nor fully accepted and integrated into civilized society.