Chapter 58: Brit

Enough ruminations about various depictions of whales! Let’s just all agree that true life experiences are very difficult to convey and that the skill of it belongs only to the great masters of craft among us.

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Today, we’re talking about a much smaller subject: brit, that food that whales crave. Not the whales that Ahab and co. are actually hunting, but the right whale and some other kinds of whale that do not produce enough or the right kind of oil to be noticed. Continue reading “Chapter 58: Brit”

IT and Modern Theodicy: The Big Black Blob Problem

I have a hankering to dig deeper into an issue that came up in a recent Moby Dick post, but is an example of a larger issue in media.

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In that post, I talked about theodicy, the practice of explaining why there is evil in the world when God is supposed to be both all-powerful and benevolent towards humanity. The one I talked about there was an ancient theodicy, from the book of Job. But today, I’d like to talk about the modern form this has taken, as best exemplified in the Stephen King novel/miniseries/film IT. Continue reading “IT and Modern Theodicy: The Big Black Blob Problem”

Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales

And now, for something completely different.

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A Richard III Whale

After that incredibly long and detailed short story, that microcosm for the book as a whole encapsulated in a single chapter, it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned non-narrative chapter where Ishmael yells at clouds. Or, rather, yells at artists for not knowing what whales look like. Continue reading “Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales”

Chapter 50: Ahab’s Boat and Crew. Fedallah.

Ahhh, I had a nice vacation, of sorts. Really, I was just dog- and housesitting, I never got much further than a mile from my house, but I was away from my computer, and thus could not continue this blog. But it’s good to be back! And for a nice big, round number, no less.

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This chapter is a good one. I actually took notes on it before my vacation, and to dig them out again to refresh my memory. As you’d guess, it’s dealing with some of the fallout from the revelation of Ahab’s secret stowaway crew and personal whaling boat, as well as digging into some themes that I’ve really been ruminating on over my summer break. Continue reading “Chapter 50: Ahab’s Boat and Crew. Fedallah.”

Chapter 49: The Hyena

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

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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 38: Dusk

Let us now turn our attention to the recipient of Ahab’s fiery, blasphemous words, one Starbuck of Nantucket. How’s he holding up?

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Well, he left the scene fearing for the the soul of himself and everyone else on the ship, so I’m gonna guess “not well”. Alas, Starbuck is doomed to be a tragic figure, as we already know from Ishmael’s preemptive eulogy. Continue reading “Chapter 38: Dusk”

Chapter 28: Ahab

Well! It’s been a little while since I posted anything. Had another dogsitting gig this last week, and a minor personal crisis to attend to. But, I’m back at it now!

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Today we’ve got a real good one, the proper introduction of Captain Ahab, the most famous character in the book with the possible exception of the titular whale. Roughly one quarter of the way through this book, it’s about time he showed his face, there have certainly been enough hints and rumors about him to stoke our interest. Continue reading “Chapter 28: Ahab”

Chapter 25: Postscript

Another tiny little chapter today. As the title suggests, really more of a postscript to the previous chapter, one little last-minute addition.

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Surely there can’t be much to say about this, can there? This tiny half-formed thought doesn’t touch on any great themes like the Lee Shore did. Ohoho, we shall just have to find out! Continue reading “Chapter 25: Postscript”

Chapter 19: The Prophet

Today we’re going to take a look at… The Future! Or, at least, those who claim to have knowledge of the future, and those who really do, in some sense.

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This chapter is another fun one. Some good dialogue, and some more legend-building for the mysterious captain of theĀ Pequod. It’s funny, there isn’t actually very much dialogue in Moby Dick, but what is there shows that Melville is very skilled at writing it. Goes to show that this book is odd not because he’s covering up for his faults, but because he’s trying something new. Continue reading “Chapter 19: The Prophet”

Chapter 18: His Mark

Now that Queequeg’s religious obligations have been dealt with, we can get back to the business at hand: going on a whaling voyage! Or at least preparing for one.

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This is a nice little chapter, we get some more of Peleg and Bildad, and see the contrast of how they treat Ishmael and his bosom pal. We’ve got some real forward narrative momentum at this point, I don’t think there’s another fully non-narrative chapter until they’re off on the voyage proper. Continue reading “Chapter 18: His Mark”