Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site





Queequeg is mistakenly referred to as Quohog in Chapter 18 of Moby Dick




In Moby-Dick, “Quohog” does not refer to the famous hometown of Peter Griffin (in the animated series) and his family but rather to a famous marine creature. A quohog (or quahog) is “a large, rounded, edible clam found off the Atlantic coast of North America,” also referred to as a “hard clam, hardshell clam.”


We can’t imagine that this clam is referenced in many literary works besides Moby-Dick; it is commonly referred to, however, in the pages of historical documents, New England periodicals such as the Rhode Island Monthly, dietetics literature, and in cookbooks.


The spelling of the word often differs between “quohog” and “quahog”; it is assumed that Melville chose to spell it in the “quo”-fashion due to its regional pronunciation. The first reference to the quohog occurs in Chapter 14, “Nantucket,” when Ishmael describes the early maritime harvests of the island’s inhabitants: they “first caught crabs and quohogs in the sand.” The word “quohog” recurs in the book four chapters later, "His Mark" but this time it has an entirely different meaning.

When Captain Peleg is trying to communicate to Ishmael his permission to ship Queequeg aboard the Pequod, he refers to the proven harpooneer thus: “tell Quohog there—what’s that you call him?” Now, initially the mistake seems innocent enough. One can’t expect that Peleg has often happened upon a name like Queequeg (recall the kneejerk reaction he and Bildad had to the sight of the man). One might even have a laugh at Queequeg’s expense, hearing him likened to a creature having a course exterior and a soft, squishy, delicious inside; after all, this is not far off the mark from how Melville characterizes him. Still, the misidentification of Queequeg seems more strikingly sad and bitingly ironic when it is intimated that Peleg records Queequeg’s name in the ship’s log as “Quohog.” It is beneath this word that Queequeg signs “his mark.”


Queequeg is the best harpooner aboad the Pequod sailing ship. He predicted death in chasing the big white whale and did not survive the sinking of the Pequod, in Herman Melville's literary masterpiece Moby Dick.








The hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria), also known as a quahog (or quahaug), round clam or hard-shell (or hard-shelled) clam, is an edible marine bivalve mollusk that is native to the eastern shores of North America and Central America from Prince Edward Island to the Yucatán Peninsula. It is one of many unrelated edible bivalves that in the United States are frequently referred to simply as clams, as in the expression "clam digging". 

Clam chowder is any of several chowder soups in American cuisine containing clams and broth or milk. In addition to clams, common ingredients include diced potatoes, salt pork, onions, and celery. Other vegetables are not typically used. It is believed that clams were used in chowder because of the relative ease of harvesting them. Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers.

The dish originated in the Eastern United States, but is now commonly served in restaurants throughout the country, particularly on Fridays when American Catholics traditionally abstained from meat. Many regional variations exist, but the three most prevalent are New England or "white" clam chowder, Rhode Island or "clear" clam chowder, and Manhattan or "red" clam chowder.

The earliest-established and most popular variety of clam chowder, the milk-based New England clam chowder, was introduced to the region by French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers, becoming common in the 18th century.




Moby Dick is the story of a great white sperm whale that fought back at whalers who tried to harpoon him. The idea came to Herman Melville after he spent time on a commercial whaler, where stories abounded of the sinking of the Essex in 1821 and Mocha Dick, a giant sperm whale that sank around 20 ships, before being harpooned in 1838.


Moby Dick has inspired a great many adaptations, the same basic story finding its way into the making of four films and two television adaptations.


In addition there are many comics and illustrated volumes, adapted from the original, one of which is the emerging graphic novel version of a large humpback whale called Kulo Luna.


Kulo Luna is not as big as the whales depicted in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, but she has a diamond encrusted heart of gold, only attacking whaling ships that present a danger to herself or her friends.





Herman Melville was the author of a story about what we'd now consider an illegal activity, the commercial hunting of whales for oil and meat.




Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site



This website is Copyright © 2020 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd and Jameson Hunter Ltd