Chapter 49: The Hyena

Today we’ve got another nice little short chapter, to bookend the lengthy one from last time.

hyena1

We’re going to zoom in on Ishmael, which is something that’s been more and more rare since the launch of the final voyage of theĀ Pequod. Early on, he was the focus of every chapter, our point of view into this new world of whaling, but in the grand scheme of the story being told, he’s not particularly relevant. Continue reading “Chapter 49: The Hyena”

Chapter 48: The First Lowering

Here we go! Time to go kill a god damned sea monster!

lowering1

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”

Chapter 47: The Mat-Make

Ah, what a perfect time of year to read this chapter, in particular.

mat4.jpg

The weather has been much like that described in this chapter, lately. As it is the Pacific Northwest, we have a certain reputation to keep up with regards to sunshine and a lack thereof, but it is still very pleasant in the summer. When the temperature hovers in the low to mid 70s (fahrenheit, of course), and it gets just a little humid, it is just the most seductive and perfect weather imaginable. Continue reading “Chapter 47: The Mat-Make”

Chapter 46: Surmises

Now that we are properly grounded in the fictional reality of this book, we can get to the business at hand: psychoanalyzing Ahab!

20190624_092514_HDR

Haha no not really, psychoanalysis wouldn’t be invented for like 70 years after this book was written. But we are getting more insight into his internal processes. Or, at any rate, some educated guesses about it. Continue reading “Chapter 46: Surmises”

Chapter 43: Hark!

Okay, so this is embarrassing.

I totally forgot to do this chapter! It is super short, again, and doesn’t have any thematic or philosophical business to speak of. Let’s make this quick, for once!

scuttle1

SUMMARY: As they are refilling the scuttlebutt one night, a Spanish sailor hears something in the forward hold and tells his friend Archy, who heard nothing and doesn’t believe him. Continue reading “Chapter 43: Hark!”

Chapter 44: The Chart

Now that we’ve got all the finnicky business of epistemological impossibility out of the way, we have some more practical matters to worry about: how do you find a whale?

chart1

You can sit around thinking and wondering all day, but you’re not gonna get anywhere unless you take action, and Ahab is our man of action in this story. While Ishmael lays and ruminates in his favorite perch among the rigging, Ahab is busy far below. Continue reading “Chapter 44: The Chart”

Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale

Now that I’ve gotten a bit philosophical, it’s Ishmael’s turn.

whiteness1

What’s fun, at least to me, about this book is that it takes its own turn at explaining the symbolism and themes. You get a sort of inside perspective on things. I can see why it would be attractive to teachers who want to impart these concepts, but the language is just too challenging for it to really work. A book that is about symbols is going to end up being too convoluted to analyze at a high school level. Continue reading “Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale”

Chapter 41: Moby Dick

So, now that we know what Ahab, Starbuck, Stubb, and the crew in general think of the events of The Quarter-Deck, who could possibly be left to weight in? Is there some important character who has been neglected?

moby1

Oh yes, there is that novice whaleman, named himself after some biblical figure, obviously not his real name, what was it again? Isaiah? Ezekiel? Ishmael! That was it, let’s hear what good ol’ Ishmael has to say about all this. Continue reading “Chapter 41: Moby Dick”

Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle

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 theĀ 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.

focsl_1

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”

Some Dark and Heavy Summer Reading

Every summer, I turn my eye to old Victorian-era literature. Basically anything from like the 19th or early 20th centuries.

summer1

In the past, I’ve read basically every book by Wilkie Collins, J. Sheridan le Fanu, Bram Stoker, the Brontes, and a smattering of other novels from other authors of the period. A couple years ago, I tried to read Les Miserables, but couldn’t get into it, though I did enjoy Toilers of the Sea, also by Victor Hugo. Continue reading “Some Dark and Heavy Summer Reading”