The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read.
This chapter presents a humorous dinnertime scene: Ahab and his three mates eat together silently, solemnly: “Over his ivory-inlaid table, Ahab presided like a mute, maned sea-lion.” Because of the captain’s “awful silence,” the three mates are terrified to speak.
By contrast, the three harpooneers eat loudly and hungrily, terrorizing the cook/steward, whom they call Dough-Boy. Like the three mates are scared of Ahab, so Dough-Boy is scared of the harpooneers. Meilville writes, “Dough Boy’s whole life was one continual lip-quiver.”