Chapter 69: The Funeral

Nice.

funeral3

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can get back to business. I’ve been a bit busy lately: going to school, being overwhelmed by the horrors of the world, fearing for the safety of my city and my friends abroad, making a new website for myself. All very pressing business, I assure you. Continue reading “Chapter 69: The Funeral”

Chapter 67: Cutting In

What do you even do with a whale, once you’ve killed it?

cutting2

Much has been said about what a monumental foe the sperm whale is, in this book thus far. So vast and terrible in its strength, such a rare thing to even see one, much less successfully kill it. After all that is accomplished, what do you do? How on earth does an old timey sailing ship accommodate such a massive carcasse? Well, that’s what today’s chapter, and the several following chapters, are about, so settle in! It’s gonna get gross. Continue reading “Chapter 67: Cutting In”

Chapter 66: The Shark Massacre

I know what the title sounds like, but this is not that kind of shark massacre. Quite the opposite, in fact.

sharks1

This is another nice little short chapter, only a few pages in my edition, but very memorable. One of those nice little facts about whaling that you will carry around in your head forever afterwards, ready to spring it in the middle of a conversation if it somehow happens to come up. Moby Dick is full of such gems, and they tend to crop up in non-narrative chapters like this. Continue reading “Chapter 66: The Shark Massacre”

Chapter 64: Stubb’s Supper

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.

supper1

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”

Chapter 63: The Crotch

Okay, okay, stop giggling. You know it doesn’t mean that kind of crotch.

crotch1

This chapter is another little tiny one, a calm before the storm, so to speak. It’s funny, all around this first real whale hunt, Ishmael has been having these little side-notes informing us about necessary bits and pieces of whaling procedure. And yet, even with all this, the actual moments of whaling feel a bit obscure. It’s such an incredibly complicated and unique procedure, it’s difficult to put all the pieces together. Continue reading “Chapter 63: The Crotch”

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.

brit1

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 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.

ofwhales2

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 56: Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes

So, now that we’ve heard all about (and seen, thanks to the magic of the internet) some truly awful pictures of whales, it’s time for the good ones!

error1
Beale

Or, barring that, at least the ones that are acceptable, at a base level. Even the finest artists do not quite live up to the reality of the sperm whale, if Ishmael is to be believed. Continue reading “Chapter 56: Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes”

Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales

And now, for something completely different.

monster3
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 32: Cetology

Oh boy, this chapter.

ceto7

This is a real monster. It’s very long, a bit dry, and mostly just… confusing, as to why it is even here. It is, oddly, one of the more famous ones, I feel. People love to talk about how every fact about whales in Moby Dick is wrong or how it goes wildly off topic and starts talking about pseudoscience. But I think that’s really not giving it enough credit. Continue reading “Chapter 32: Cetology”