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Chapters 105 - 107
Ishmael now, takes the reader back to the point in his story, where they leave the English ship Samuel Enderby. While stomping out of the ship in fury, his ivory leg gets damaged. So he decides to go to the ship’s carpenter.
According to Ishmael, every ship has a carpenter aboard as part of the crew. This carpenter is not just another person who works on wood, but is good on metal and ivory as well. Moreover, he has other skills too. For instance, he can make a lotion for aches and sprains, pull out aching teeth and even pierce ears.
However, Ishmael finds the carpenter on Pequod, despite all his talents, to be lacking a brain. Ishmael is convinced that his brains must have certainly slipped into his fingers. Besides, he rarely speaks to any one on the ship, so preoccupied is he with his own thoughts. In the following chapter, Ishmael narrates the meeting between Ahab and the carpenter. Though not a single word is exchanged while the carpenter is fitting Ahab’s leg, both are wrapped in their own thoughts. While the carpenter is admiring his handiwork on the new whalebone, he thinks that he can make an even better leg with a knee joint. When Ahab enters, he wonders if his new leg will be good enough to make him forget the feeling that his old living leg is still with him. When Ahab leaves with the new leg, the carpenter thinks that captain is as weird as Stubb is.
In the three chapters, the author reveals the inner turmoil that Ahab is experiencing due to his handicap. It is due to his artificial limb that proud Ahab has to constantly depend on other people for help and he hates himself for it. So Ahab curses the "mortal inter-indebtedness of the Universe"..." He wants to be completely independent yet Melville suggests that no one is ever completely independent.