I’m back again!
I apologize for these long breaks between posts lately. I’ve been very busy with the college quarter winding down, and also the whole pandemic thing going has been very stressful. But with the quarter finally over, I feel at least part of my burden eased for a time, so I will be able to deliver these snippets of wisdom on a more regular schedule.
Thankfully, today’s chapter makes for a bit lighter reading than last week’s, being mostly concerned with the meal that Stubb was partaking in rather than the social dynamics at play around it. Continue reading “Chapter 65: The Whale as a Dish”
Now, for a short bit of of professional criticism.
Not from me, mind you, but from one Ishmael, who has noticed a few problems with how this whole whaling operation is being run. Like all insider suggestions, born of hard experience, it is very specific and points to something I noticed before, which was probably just me remembering this specific chapter and blurting it out like it was my idea.
Continue reading “Chapter 62: The Dart”
You thought chapter titles couldn’t get any longer? You fool. You absolute buffoon. Melville has no sympathy, and is following no rulebook.
This chapter is kind of a transition into a different mood from the previous two. Instead of a critical survey of art from the learned eye of an expert, it’s of Ishmael as a man reflecting on the nature of art and the world it inhabits. So yeah, I think I can find something to talk about here. Continue reading “Chapter 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in the Stars”
Okay, so this chapter isn’t technically the one with the first game, that would be chapter 53, titled: The Gam. But it is the first time the Pequod meets another whaling ship, so I think it technically counts.
Oh, by the bye, “gam” is a term used for a meeting between whaling ships on the open ocean. This is explained in the next chapter, but I figured I ought to get out ahead of that so you’ll know what the heck I’m talking about. Continue reading “Chapter 52: The Albatross”
Here we go! Time to go kill a god damned sea monster!
Or, make an attempt, at any rate. It’s really a very difficult thing, taking down such a large and powerful creature. Of course, we humans have made our bones on taking down things much larger and more powerful than ourselves. Perhaps the whale itself is not always the biggest obstacle, though. Continue reading “Chapter 48: The First Lowering”
Okay, let’s get back into it with a nice, meaty chapter. We’re getting into some interesting metatexutal territory here, blurring the line between Melville and Ishmael.
Technically, I think this whole thing is just more of Old Ishmael, based on the general tone and tendency towards exhortation and exclamation. But it’s also very much a bibliography slipped into the text itself, and I must say it’s more pleasant to read than the ones you usually see!
Continue reading “Chapter 45: The Affidavit”
So, now that we’ve checked in on the officer class of the ship (minus Flask, who barely counts), it’s time to see how the rest of the crew is reacting. Since so few of them are actual, established, important characters, they don’t get whole individual chapters, not even the harpooneers.
But, what they do get is a fun format change! This chapter is written entirely in the style of a stage play. I’ve never heard of it being staged, but I wouldn’t doubt that some high school or college that was particularly arts-oriented has done it once or twice. Continue reading “Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle”
There are some things in media which only reveal themselves after you are able to articulate them.
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”
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.
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”
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.
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”