Good Kings and Bad Kings

There are some things in media which only reveal themselves after you are able to articulate them.

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For me, one of the big ones was queer-coded villains. It was like having a veil dropped from my eyes, seeing the way that difference of identity was being codified as cruel and evil, the way that outsider status was subtly equated over and over again with being Bad, in one way or another. Continue reading “Good Kings and Bad Kings”

Chapter 33: The Specksnyder

So, now that we’ve gotten past that monumental chapter about every kind of whale that exists, it should be smooth sailing, right?

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Well, maybe not. This chapter can be challenging in a different way. It uses a lot of winks and nods and glancing references. It’s very easy to, as I did the first time, just sort of let your eyes scan over the page and not take much in from it. Continue reading “Chapter 33: The Specksnyder”

Chapter 30: The Pipe

Another tiny little chapter! I think this might be even shorter than Postscript, but it’s too close to call.

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This one has a bit more weight to it, though, as it concerns the actions of one Captain Ahab, who is quite an interesting subject. But what could even one such as he get up to in four short paragraphs? Let us see. Continue reading “Chapter 30: The Pipe”

Chapter 26: Knights and Squires

Alright, who’s ready to learn about Starbucks? The coffee chain started as a small shop on Western avenue near the Pike Place market in Seattle, back in the 1970s, but when that building bu-

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Wait, hold one, I’m reading more closely, today we’re talking about a singular Starbuck, that singular first mate of the ivory Pequod. Well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish! Continue reading “Chapter 26: Knights and Squires”

Chapter 25: Postscript

Another tiny little chapter today. As the title suggests, really more of a postscript to the previous chapter, one little last-minute addition.

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Surely there can’t be much to say about this, can there? This tiny half-formed thought doesn’t touch on any great themes like the Lee Shore did. Ohoho, we shall just have to find out! Continue reading “Chapter 25: Postscript”

Chapter 24: The Advocate

Now that Ishmael has properly begun his fateful voyage, this book will freely shift between narrative and non-narrative sections with no transition necessary. Ishmael doesn’t need an excuse to go off on a tangent at sea, there’s plenty of free time to sit around and think his thoughts.

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This is the first chapter where we’re not following the narrative at all. This isn’t inspired by something in the last chapter. It’s not an anecdote connected to some incident that we get a glimpse of. It is purely Old Ishmael rambling about something. The narrative chain has been broken. The next time we pick it up, it may be hours after the Pequod left port, or months. We have no way of knowing.

Continue reading “Chapter 24: The Advocate”

Chapter 23: The Lee Shore

Ah, this chapter.

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This is one of the shorter ones in this massive tome. Not the shortest, I don’t think, there’s a chapter later on that’s only a single paragraph. But this one is definitely punching above its weight class when it comes to interesting thematic and philosophical meat to chew on versus length. Continue reading “Chapter 23: The Lee Shore”

Chapter 21: Going Aboard

It’s time! Time to get in a boat and go hunt some actual, factual, living whales.

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Well, it’s not quite time for the hunting part yet, but it is time for this most famous of American maritime novels to actually get to the part where they’re on the ocean. Technically, they’ve already been there, it’s hard to avoid when you’re going to Nantucket, but you know what I mean! The whaling voyage! It’s… well, it’s time to go aboard, as the title says. Let’s get into it.

Continue reading “Chapter 21: Going Aboard”

Chapter 20: All Astir

Today’s chapter is pretty short and breezy, but still does some important work. As we approach the fateful voyage of the Pequod, the omens and portents of its ruin are gathering thick in the air.

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But, there are still the final preparations to make. So many little things must be taken care of. The ship will be away from land for three whole years, so they must plan for every eventuality. Continue reading “Chapter 20: All Astir”

Chapter 18: His Mark

Now that Queequeg’s religious obligations have been dealt with, we can get back to the business at hand: going on a whaling voyage! Or at least preparing for one.

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This is a nice little chapter, we get some more of Peleg and Bildad, and see the contrast of how they treat Ishmael and his bosom pal. We’ve got some real forward narrative momentum at this point, I don’t think there’s another fully non-narrative chapter until they’re off on the voyage proper. Continue reading “Chapter 18: His Mark”