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In my discussion of “The Pequod Meets the Rosebud,” I suggested that the comic tone of the gam chapters thus far would eventually shift to something else. In “The Castaway,” Ishmael foreshadows this change and raises the issue, once again, of predestination. Picking up the idea of reversal of circumstance broached in the previous chapter — the low made high, the corruptible made incorruptible — Ishmael begins by telling us:

some few days after encountering the Frenchman