Chapter 78: Cistern and Buckets

Ah, here we go, back to action!

Yes, after a few chapters in a row of straight philosophizing, Ishmael has deigned to give us some more Things That Actually Happened on his fateful whaling voyage. I often wonder how much of the initial poor reception of this book would have been mitigated if Melville mixed these two modes of writing together more evenly. I remember hearing that it went narrative and non-narrative every other chapter, but that’s obviously not true.

Continue reading “Chapter 78: Cistern and Buckets”

Chapter 65: The Whale as a Dish

I’m back again!

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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”

Chapter 62: The Dart

Now, for a short bit of of professional criticism.

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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”

Chapter 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in the Stars

You thought chapter titles couldn’t get any longer? You fool. You absolute buffoon. Melville has no sympathy, and is following no rulebook.

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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”

Chapter 54: The Town-Ho’s Story

Uff dah fee tah. This chapter… this chapter is a trial.

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I’ve tried to write this post like three times now, and I keep getting way too far out in the weeds, just trying to, like, summarize what even happens. There’s just way too much. If you want the full story, you gotta read it yourself, I’m sorry. This is gonna be more of a… loose reflections kind of post. Continue reading “Chapter 54: The Town-Ho’s Story”

Chapter 52: The Albatross

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.

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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”