It’s called biographical. Queequeg comes from an island called Kokovoko. “It is not down in any map; no true places ever are.”
It seems that Queequeg comes from savage royalty, but longs of seeing Christian lands. I wonder what those times must have been like. Times when one might say, “Y’know, those Christians seem to really be putting it together. I should probably dip my wick in ‘at, as I imagine that before long, they will come for my heathen ass.” These days, I expect the Spanish Inquisition.
Moving on. There was no room for Prince Queequeg on this Christian vessel headed for Christian lands, so in the dark of night our boy snuck out.
“Hiding his canoe, still afloat, among these thickets, with it’s prow seaward, he sat down in the stern, paddle low in hand; and when the ship was gliding by, like a flash he darted out; gained her side; with one backward dash of his foot capsized and sank his canoe; climbed up the chains; and throwing himself at full length upon the deck, grappled a ring-bolt, and swore to not let go, though hacked in pieces.”
Guess what? Queequeg is more badass than you will ever be. Ever. Not Sorry. Funny thing, it didn’t take long for Queequeg to realize that the civilized Christian was not so civilized at all. By the time he made it to Nantucket and witnessed where these whalemen spent their wages, “Thought he, it’s a wicked world in all meridians; I’ll die a pagan.” Truth be told, I would guess the savage is more at home with his savage behavior than the devout and spiritual are with their own, thus leading to a minimalization of twisted needs. It’s true that we all need someone to love. To lean on. Or whatever. We do not all need someone to suck on our toes to get off. But let us not judge.
“For the nonce, however, he proposed to to sail about, and sow his wild oats in all four oceans.” Yes Queequeg. Let the spreading of oats commence. But what of Oates? Hall and Oates? Next.