I’ve really got my work cut out for me this time ’round. This is a very important and fascinating chapter, and has been the subject of a lot of study and discussion over the years. It’s not hard to see why, there’s obviously a lot going on here, and I will do my level best to untangle it, and perhaps offer a bit of my own commentary on top of all the others.
Ahhhhh, my vacation is nearly over, but I managed to find time to do a bit more reading.
This chapter is a bit meatier, a hint at things to come, and it’s a really good one. We’re back into some classic Ishmael philosophizing here. I simply had to tear myself away from various JRPGs to get down to writing about it, before the specter of the work week comes once more to sap all of my creative energies.
Okay, okay, I had my fun, let’s get back to serious business.
Honestly, I got most of the way into writing a big thoughtful analysis of the last chapter, but it really comes down to that little joke. That’s all ya need to know to unravel everything. I only get to do that once, I think, the inverse of my old post where I spun like 2000 words out of a one-paragraph chapter. Ah, that was a good one.
Ah, time for a nice short chapter. I believe the next one is too, we’re kinda of building up to one of the big setpiece chapters of this book, one that’s been argued over for years and years by academics, rich with meaning and Thematic Weight.
This chapter concerns a mysterious object that is harvested from the dead whale, as another part of the rituals of extracting everything of value that can possibly be found. It’s a little obscure what part of this beast is being referred to in this chapter, but hopefully I can elucidate any questions it may leave you with
I mean, not really, but also, yes. Look, people love to post excerpts of this chapter out of context, to make it sound like Moby-Dick; or, the Whale is some sort of pornographic free-for-all. As you and I well know by this point, that is not quite the case. And yet, there’s only so much that context can really change for writing like this. Let’s dig in and squish our hands around in it.
Sometimes it’s easy to go skimming along through this book and then be suddenly met with an ugly reminder that it was written before the civil war.
Naturally, this is any time a Black character shows up. It happens again this chapter, and while it’s not as bad as the cook, there are still some off-hand comments and just… general weirdness and discomfort around the portrayal of Black characters in this book. Like I think it’s about as good as you can expect from any white writer in 1850, but still, it’s a bit jarring.
Yes, it’s time for another of Old Ishmael’s little musings, but it’s just a short aside this time, not a whole tangent with its own thematic arc. A little explanation, for those of you who are not fans of the old and oft-rebooted cartoon series Futurama.
Okay, okay, I didn’t mean to worry you, I’m still at it!
No, friends, I won’t be disappearing for months on end in between posts anymore, as long as nothing catastrophic happens in my life (knock on wood). I’ve just been busy for the past week gorging myself on the game Pentiment, which really is incredible. There’s a big ol’ post incoming for that one, don’t you worry. Anyway, on to the chapter!
This was a weird year for me, in terms of games. There was the release of something that I had been looking forward to for a long time, but it didn’t really hit for me. I spent the first half of the year paralyzed with fear and absorbed in old favorites, and the latter half too busy to get into anything new. So, there’s not a lot to go on here, really. But, I’ve still got Some Thoughts on a few things.