Chapter 84: Pitchpoling

Ah, after a couple of chapters of non-narrative philosophizing, we get back to a bit of whale hunting.

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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”

Chapter 82: The Honor and Glory of Whaling

You’ll never guess what this chapter is about!

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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”

Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction

Most metafiction is bad, I find.

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Almost always, when authors start getting into the weeds on the nature of reality, twisting things around and trying to play with the idea of characters within a story knowing that they’re fictional, I find it incredibly boring. It serves as a kind of excuse for not doing the hard work of writing actual characters or events with meaning. You simply point at the fourth wall and say “look at it! I’m doing something interesting here!” Continue reading “Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction”

Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets The Virgin

Enough of this reflection and philosophizing, it’s time for more action!

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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”

Chapter 80: The Nut

The jokes, they write themselves.

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Now that the choking, toxic smoke in the air of Seattle has been replaced with the more traditional water, I find myself in a writerly mood once again. And a readerly one, I suppose. A torrential downpour outside does tend to push one towards cozier pastimes, I find. Continue reading “Chapter 80: The Nut”

I Read Another Book: The Pelican Brief

Moby Dick is not the only book I’ve been reading.

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It would be rather odd if it was, since I only read a few chapters a week, and they’re usually not very long, and for months I wasn’t even updating this blog! No, while I haven’t been reading as much as usual lately, since I’m not working at the Pike Place Market for obvious reasons, I have been pecking away at some books before bed every night.

In the spirit of one of my favorite podcasts, I decided to make some posts about ’em. Just the usual reflections, but on a whole work instead of a little piece of it. It’s not a formal review, just some stray thoughts and observations, more in the style of my Moby Dick posts.

Continue reading “I Read Another Book: The Pelican Brief”

Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun

This is one of the chapters that really inspired me to do this blog.

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The casual reader of Moby Dick, which I must assume exists because I was one, would come across this and be utterly confused. What the heck is a Heidelburgh Tun, and why is it being talked about like it’s some sort of famous reference that everyone knows? It’s a question that cries out for answering. This is the one that really got me started in on researching all these obscure 19th century references. Continue reading “Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun”

Chapter 76: The Battering-Ram

Boy I sure hope you’re ready for more whale physiology!

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Continuing on with our little run of non-narrative chapters, today we’re getting a close examination of the sperm whale’s powerful forehead. Of course, this being Moby Dick, it has some deep philosophical implications that would drive a man mad if he fully understood them. Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Chapter 76: The Battering-Ram”

Chapter 73: Stubb & Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him

Man, what a chapter title.

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After so many chapters titled “The [noun]”, we get an old fashioned summary, like this is a danged penny dreadful or dime novel. Also, apparently hunting a whale is now a single-chapter affair, or half a chapter, as we’ll soon see. The real focus is on the eponymous Talk. Continue reading “Chapter 73: Stubb & Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him”

Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story

Alright, now we are back in it.

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Jeroboam sacrificing to his idol, oil on canvas by Claes Corneliszoon Moeyaert, 1641

Today’s chapter is a lengthy one, featuring the tale of another whaling ship that the Pequod comes across on that vast, wild plain of the Pacific Ocean. They hear the story of this ship, another wild tale that happens to be incredibly relevant to their own quest. Let’s listen in, shall we? Continue reading “Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story”