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 the 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.

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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”

Chapter 39: First Night-Watch

Here’s another tiny little chapter. At this rate we’ll be down to a single paragraph, then a single sentence, and perhaps even a single word will suffice.

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This time, the focus is on Stubb in the aftermath of Ahab’s big revelation. He didn’t get a lot of focus in that chapter, though he was there with everyone else. How will he respond to the new plan of vengeance on the white whale, Moby Dick? Let’s find out! Continue reading “Chapter 39: First Night-Watch”

Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck

Hoo boy, this is a big one. Not in terms of length, it doesn’t compare to Cetology, but in terms of importance and… depth of meaning?

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This is one of the most famous scenes in the book. If you know two scenes, it’s probably the ending and this one. Ahab is gonna play his hand, give a big speech, and reveal his innermost secrets. Not all of his secrets, mind you, just the deepest ones. Continue reading “Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck”

Chapter 30: The Pipe

Another tiny little chapter! I think this might be even shorter than Postscript, but it’s too close to call.

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This one has a bit more weight to it, though, as it concerns the actions of one Captain Ahab, who is quite an interesting subject. But what could even one such as he get up to in four short paragraphs? Let us see. Continue reading “Chapter 30: The Pipe”

Chapter 29: Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb

This book is going to continue being a bit strange, playing with the form of the novel in some interesting ways. Just recently we had chapter titles repeating, and here we have one that’s a set of stage directions.

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It brings to mind the way that some books have a little summary of what happens in the chapter in the table of contents. “In which such and such does so and so and meets with what’s-her-name”, you know the type. Continue reading “Chapter 29: Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb”

Chapter 23: The Lee Shore

Ah, this chapter.

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This is one of the shorter ones in this massive tome. Not the shortest, I don’t think, there’s a chapter later on that’s only a single paragraph. But this one is definitely punching above its weight class when it comes to interesting thematic and philosophical meat to chew on versus length. Continue reading “Chapter 23: The Lee Shore”

Chapter 21: Going Aboard

It’s time! Time to get in a boat and go hunt some actual, factual, living whales.

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Well, it’s not quite time for the hunting part yet, but it is time for this most famous of American maritime novels to actually get to the part where they’re on the ocean. Technically, they’ve already been there, it’s hard to avoid when you’re going to Nantucket, but you know what I mean! The whaling voyage! It’s… well, it’s time to go aboard, as the title says. Let’s get into it.

Continue reading “Chapter 21: Going Aboard”

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”

Chapter 16: The Ship

Well, I’ve got my work cut out for me today. This recent run of chapters has been easy, I even had to go off on a wild tangent of my own to find any substance in the last one. But this one? There’s just… there’s a lot. There’s a lot in sheer number of words, in different tones, themes, and just in moving parts, compared to other chapters, in general.

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So, this’ll probably be a long one. Be forewarned! Continue reading “Chapter 16: The Ship”