46 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1838

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Chapters 4-8Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

Augustus begins recounting what has been happening on the ship. He had tried to talk to Pym from above the hold, but he found that the latter was always sleeping. The two now realize that this is because the smell of old fish oil can cause extreme drowsiness. After several days, a mutiny broke out. The mutineers killed some of the crew and set the others—including Captain Barnard—adrift in a small boat.

Augustus befriended a sailor named Dirk Peters, who is less violent than the other sailors. As disagreements broke out among the mutineers, Peters kept Augustus alive by claiming the latter as his clerk. While trying to make his way to the hold to contact Pym, Augustus was caught by one of the more violent crew members, who handcuffed him and imprisoned him in the berth.

Chapter 5 Summary

Augustus continues his description of the mutiny and its aftermath. He managed to remove the handcuffs, but before he could escape, Peters entered with Tiger. Prior to the Grampus’s departure, Augustus had secretly arranged to bring Tiger on board, knowing he would be a comfort to Pym. During the violence of the uprising, the dog hid underneath a whaleboat; Peters eventually freed him.