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”

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 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 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”

Chapter 15: Chowder

Today we’ve got another fun chapter on our hands, but one that moves the plot a bit more. Ishmael and Queequeg have to get themselves situated on Nantucket, so they can look around and find a ship to ship with.

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Sorry I’m a little late this week, I was off dogsitting again. It’s nice to take a bit of time away from the old computer desk every now and then. But let us get on with it! Continue reading “Chapter 15: Chowder”

Chapter 8: The Pulpit

Let us continue the Theology lessons, here in this, the most churchy run of chapters in Moby-Dick; or, the Whale.

A Sermon from the High Pulpit: The Chancel Behind 1827 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

This chapter contains some real meat in that particular vein, as well as appealing to a particular style of Christian aesthetic that I enjoy a great deal. After the doubts raised in The Chapel, it’s time to get a little more sincere, as the chaplain finally makes his appearance.

Continue reading “Chapter 8: The Pulpit”

Chapter 7: The Chapel

Let’s move on to some capital-T Theology in this next run of chapters in Moby-Dick; or, the Whale! I’ll say ahead of time that I am, at best, an amateur theologian, having taken only a few classes on the subject in college, and none of them even remotely relating to 19th century Christianity.

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But, having been raised in a denomination that encourages scholarship of the Bible, following @benito-cereno for many years on this site, and listening to his wonderful podcast @apocrypals, I know a thing or three about the following of ol’ Oily Josh.

Continue reading “Chapter 7: The Chapel”