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
Ishmael describes how a certain part of the sperm whale is carefully removed and stretched out so that it may be used as a protective garment by the mincer. Their job is to slice the pieces of the blanket (the blubber of the sperm whale) into very thin pieces, so they will melt more readily when it is rendered into oil.
It’s the dick.
They’re walking around in a poncho made of the whale’s dick.
This whole chapter is an elaborate dick joke, he’s comparing someone wearing a penis skin to a priest behind an altar.
Ahh, a nice short one, for a change. Sometimes, there’s just one thing to explain about a chapter.
“[U]naccountable cone — longer than the average Kentuckian is tall”… this book is hilarious, sometimes.
Until next time, shipmates!
2 thoughts on “Chapter 95: The Cassock”
Hey Robin! Thanks for the new chapters analysis. You’re such a good writer. I have every pleasure watching it develop as I read through these.
all the best,
Ahoy Captain…I can’t believe I’ve caught up with you. I’m a retired lawyer who decided to do a close reading of M-D in 2023 and, about chapter 30 or so, happened upon your wondrous blog. I love that your approach is not only to read Melville carefully but also to address the social and economic issues this remarkable book addresses. I know you’re busy with Many Things but just to let you know how much this poor sailor appreciates your hard and brilliant work. I wish you well and will keep checking in …
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