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!
The more I reread this book, the more I find that old advice about skipping every other chapter baffling.
The idea was that the book switched back and forth between narrative and non-narrative chapters, so if you want a “normal” book you could just skip them, but as we’ve seen that is not at all the case. Instead, what happens is that Ishmael will give us a chunk of the story, and then go off on a bunch of tangents related to that narrative, and then those tangents themselves. Moby Dick is a weird book, and you just kinda have to deal with it.
Alright, enough about space whales, let’s get back to good ol’ fashioned domestic Earth whales.
We’ve got a real barn burner of a chapter today. One of those ones that feels like it was written specifically for me, or at least the 21st century audience. This is just a beautiful bit of philosophical writing that really gets across an idea in a very neat and tidy way. Sure, there are a few rough edges to it, I won’t ignore those, but we’ve certainly gotten used to them by this point, haven’t we?
We’re finally out of the non-narrative chapters! Enough about whale anatomy, lets get back to story, shall we? Or, at any rate, some interesting disconnected incidents which the Pequod had while sailing about the ocean.
This one is pretty lengthy, and pretty thrilling. It’s one that never makes it into the filmed adaptations, which is a shame because it’s so very dramatic. Then again, there hasn’t been one since the advent of CG, you could really do it justice now. Of course, Moby Dick is probably unfilmable, or would require more of a broad TV approach to really do justice.
So, during my hiatus from this blog, I took the opportunity to… not read much of anything, actually. I’ve been watching a lot of movies during the pandemic, playing lots of Final Fantasy XIV, but not doing a lot of reading.
However, recently I did actually pick and finish a new book. It happened to come to my attention through a largely unrelated podcast, Scream Scene, which covered an adaptation of a different novel from the same author, The Vampire Moth. I learned that Seishi Yokomizu’s classic mystery novels were just now being translated into English, so I figured I’d try one out. I went on an Agatha Christie binge a few years back, I’m no stranger to detective fiction.
(Since the stories I’m writing about are mysteries, I’ll do my best not to spoil them)
Ahhhhh, good to be back. And today, Ishmael has graced us with a fascinating chapter, with plenty of huge, sinewy subject matter to sink our teeth into.
Yes, this chapter is another one describing the anatomy of the whale, but there are some, uh, very interesting tangents, shall we say. Perhaps a bit revealing of our old friend Ishmael? Who could say, I can only speculate.
Ah, after a couple of chapters of non-narrative philosophizing, we get back to a bit of whale hunting.
This one is kind of tricky, I’m not sure if I’m really going to be able to wring a lot of philosophical meaning out of it, but there is a mystery to be solved. Namely: what the heck is pitchpoling, actually? Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Chapter 84: Pitchpoling”→
Ah, sometimes this book can get a bit repetitive. But it can be hard to tell if that’s the book’s fault, or mine for reading it so many times. I would say that Moby Dick is a kind of… mixed masterpiece. It is not a sort of perfect clockwork thing, where every spring and cog fits together in some flawless and immaculate design. No, it’s more of a great pile of ideas, rudely shaped into something transcendent. Here is another piece, for your perusal. Continue reading “Chapter 82: The Honor and Glory of Whaling”→
Enough of this reflection and philosophizing, it’s time for more action!
I do wonder if Melville was a bit self-conscious in writing this book, aware that he was a bit too heavy on the high-minded discourse, when his audience was expecting more of a rollicking action-adventure yarn. After all, his most successful previous books, Typee and Omoo were more in that vein. Thus, the sudden shift in tone here, to a good ol’ fashioned whale hunt. Continue reading “Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets The Virgin”→