Okay, I’ve been dragging my feet with this one, but I guess I just have to bite the gamey whale steak and get it over with.
This chapter is… difficult to talk about, as a person who likes this book and wants to convince other people to read it. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a book from pre-civil war America, so there are certain subjects that are not going to handled as, uh, delicately as you would hope, particularly anything involving black people. I’ve touched on it a couple times already, but this is where it’s really unavoidable, because we have a whole heaping helping of dialog with a black character, who is of course speaking in a dialect that Melville has painstakingly replicated in the text for our… enjoyment. Continue reading “Chapter 64: Stubb’s Supper”
Here we go! Time to go kill a god damned sea monster!
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”
Who doesn’t love a good description of somebody else’s dream? What’s that? Everyone? Everyone doesn’t love that?
Well, too bad, that’s what this chapter is about. Luckily, while it is rather accurate to vague recollections of dreams in some ways, it is not quite as awful as having to hear about a real dream. This is still a piece of literature, Melville knows what he’s doing. Continue reading “Chapter 31: Queen Mab”
Here we are again, taking a second crack at introducing the rest of the principal characters on this voyage. Now that Old Ishmael has had his feelings about the faults of courageous men, we get on with it.
I didn’t even notice that these chapter have the same title until this reading. Just goes to show how little you can pay attention to a book when you’re just trying to make progress. Continue reading “Chapter 27: Knights and Squires”
Today we’ve got another nice little chunk of narrative, after those low-key backstory and religious chapters. But, it also finds plenty of time for fun little asides and bits of philosophy here and there, so it ends up being quite long.
I’m trying to get out of the mode of going through the whole chapter point by point. There’s just too much in this book, and its very existence warns against that kind of close analysis as a sisyphean task. So, I will try to restrict myself to the points and observations I find most interesting. Continue reading “Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow”