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 45: The Affidavit

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.

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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”

Chapter 37: Sunset

So, now we’re past the big fiery chapter, and will linger a while in the afterglow. Ahab revealed his true intentions, and the world didn’t end. He has set a flame in the hearts of his men, kindled from his own, and now everyone has to deal with the fallout.

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The next few chapters are pretty short, but that gives me a good opportunity to dig into some themes. That last chapter was so dense and important, there’s a lot of stuff that necessarily fell by the wayside. You could probably write entire books untangling all the various strands of meaning in that pasteboard masks speech. Continue reading “Chapter 37: Sunset”

Chapter 10: A Bosom Friend

Now that we’ve got church out of the way, it’s time to get real chummy with some dudes just bein’ bros. Just a real couple o’ old pals, pallin’ around! That’s it and that’s all, certainly no subtext here, no sirree.

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These next few chapters make an interesting counterpoint to the harsh, literally sermonizing tone of the last little run. It’s a nice change of pace. Continue reading “Chapter 10: A Bosom Friend”

Chapter 6: The Street

What’s this? Two in one day? Sure, why not. Let’s knock another one down!

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This chapter is another short one, I actually fit the notes for it and the last one on the same page. It does have a bit more meat for us to chew on, though, in terms of blog writing. I probably won’t have to go off on a Melville-esque digression of my own to get to a decent length this time. Continue reading “Chapter 6: The Street”

Chapter 5: Breakfast

Well, I had a little break over the holiday season, did a little dog-sitting, but now it is time to get back to it!

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The next couple chapters are pretty short, only a scant few pages of material. But that’s good, as it allows me to prepare myself for the following chapters, where we’ll have to really delve deep into capital-t Theology in the Chapel and the Sermon. But for now, light situational comedy with Ishmael and co. Continue reading “Chapter 5: Breakfast”

Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn

Here we go, this is the chapter where the book really kicks into gear. There’s a lot that happens, but one particular section is very intriguing to me. It connects deeply to my whole thesis for interpreting and understanding the book, as a fictional artifact and a work of literature.

seascape1 Continue reading “Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn”

Chapter 1: Loomings

Well, there it is, the most famous opening line in all of lit’rature. Personally, I never found it all that impressive. It’s been quite over-exposed, removed of all context. Whatever power it once had has been dispersed throughout our general culture. It’s more of a Thing that you’re supposed to Respect, rather than an organic piece of writing, anymore.

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Continue reading “Chapter 1: Loomings”

Etymology & Extracts: Lord Help Me, I’m Back on My Bullshit Again

The book Moby Dick, or to give it’s proper, full title, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale, is my favorite piece of writing that exists. I think that if you give it a chance, you’ll find that it is not the chore that it initially appears. Indeed, from the very beginning, it’s positively brimming with character, crackling with folksy energies.

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Continue reading “Etymology & Extracts: Lord Help Me, I’m Back on My Bullshit Again”