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Est book about the sea ever written by DH Lawrence Moby Dick features detailed descriptions of whale hunting and whale oil extraction as well as beautiful incisive writing on race class religio i triedBoth ends of the line are exposed the lower end terminating in an eye splice or loop coming up from the bottom against the side of the tub and hanging over its edge completely disengaged from everything This arrangement of the lower end is necessary on two accounts First In order to facilitate the fastening to it of an additional line from a neighboring boat in case the stricken whale should sound so deep as to threaten to carry off the entire line originally attached to the harpoon In these instances the whale of course is shifted like a mug of ale as it were from the one boat to the other though the first boat always hovers at hand to assist its consort Second This arrangement is indispensible for common safety s sake for were the lower end of the line in any way attached to the boat and were the whale then to run the line out to the end almost in a single smoking minute as he sometimes does he would not stop there for the doomed boat would infallibly be dragged down after him into the profundity of the sea and in that case no town crier would ever find her again Before lowering the boat for the chase the upper end of the line is taken aft from the tub and passing round the loggerhead there is again carried forward the entire length of the boat resting crosswise upon the loom or handle of every man s oar so that it jogs against his wrist in rowing and also passing between the men as they alternately sit at the opposing gunwales to the leaded chocks or grooves in the extreme pointed prow of the boat where a wooden pin or skewer the size of a common uill prevents it from slipping out From the chocks it hangs in a slight festoon over the bows and is then passed inside the boat again and some ten or twenty fathoms called box line being coiled upon the box in the bows it continues its way to the gunwale still a little further aft and is then attached to the short warp the rope which is immediately connected with the harpoon but previous to that connexion the short warp goes through sundry mystifications too tedious to detaili tried but any book with that passage and thousands of passages just like it can never get five stars from me and probably not even four not because i think it is shitty writing but because when i was growing up i was told that girls just wanna have fun and that was not giving me any fun at all everyone said nooo karen you were eighteen when you read this the first time and you just didn t give it your all you are bound to love it now with your years of accumulated knowledge and experienceand that sounded valid to me and it s like when i turned thirty and i decided to try all the foods i had thought were from the devil and see if i liked them now that i was old i thought that revisiting this book might have the same results and discoveries but this book remains like olives to me and not like rice pudding which have you tried it is uite goodbut no turns out that when i was eighteen i was already fully formedand it s not that i don t understand it i get the biblical allusions i understand the bitter humor of fast fish loose fish i am aware of the foreshadowing and symbolism i went to school i learned my theory and my close reading but there are passages like the one above that i could not see the glory in all i could see was the dulland the bitch of it is that it started out fine good even i was really getting into the description of the docks and the nantuckters and it was giving me good new england y feelings and then came that first chapter about whale anatomy and i was laughing remembering encountering it during my first reading and being really angry that this chapter was jaggedly cutting in on the action and honestly it was really good at the end too but the whole middle of this book is pretty much a wash a sea of boredom with occasionally interesting icebergsat the beginning he claims that no one has ever written the definitive book about whales and whaling so kudos on that because this is pretty damn definitive it s just no fun maybe i would like it better if it had been about sharks i like sharksi know you wouldn t know it to look at me but i don t have a problem with challenging books i prefer a well told story sure and i am mostly just a pleasure reader not one that needs to be all snooty pants about everything i read but i ve done the proust thing and while he can be wordy at times hahaahah his words will eventually move me i understand them and i appreciate being submerged into his character s thought soup viginia woolf dense writing but it is gorgeous writing that shines a light into the corners of human experience and is astonishing breathtaking thomas hardy has pages and pages of descriptive nature writing but manages to make it matter i just wasn t feeling that here the chapter on the way we perceive white animals the whale through various artistic representations rigging four different chapters on whale anatomy it s just too much description not enough story it seemed all digressive interludeand you would think that a book so full of semen and dick and men holding hands while sueezing sperm and grinning at each other would have been enough but i remain unconverted and sad of itmaybe if i had read this one it would have been differentoh no i have opened the GIS doori am only including this one because i totally have that shark stuffiemaybe i am just a frivolous person unable to appreciate the descriptive bludgeoning of one man s uest to detail every inch of the giant whale or maybe all y all are wrong and deludedheh dickcome to my blog

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Moby Dick; or The Whale

N art and society The story loosely based on a real whaling shipwreck features the unforgettable vengeful Captain Ahab who obsessively hunts a great white whale who bit his leg off below the kn There once was a grouchy alpha whale named Moby Dick who rather than being agreeably shorn of his blubber and having lumpy sperm scooped out of his cranium like cottage cheese chose life Unlike so many shiftless layabout sea mammals of his generation Moby Dick did not go gentle into that good night This whale in short was not a back of the bus rider He assailed a shallow consumerist society which objectified him only as lamp oil or corset ribbing with the persuasive argument of his thrashing tail gaping maw and herculean bulk In his seminal in ways than one animal rights saga Herman Melville conjures an auatic rascally Norma Rae out of an elephantine albino whale Reasonably enough Moby Dick hereafter MD despite possible confusions with the profession is irritable when people are chasing him stabbing him with harpoons and trying to kill him Thus in an act which would be protected by law as self defense in most enlightened nations MD bites off part of the leg of one of his many hunters the humorless Captain Ahab Gall alert Gall alert Ahab has the nerve to hold a fucking grudge against the whale for this entirely ethical dismemberment He also holds a grudge for some incidental damage incurred to Lil Ahab as a very weak corollary of his lost limb but I m not even getting into that Judge Wapner would ve never stomached that half baked reasoning so neither will I Now mind you MD doesn t like come ashore in Nantucket rent a lowrider horse drawn carriage and try to put a cap in the ass of that one legged old bitch ass captain who wanted to decapitate him So I mean who s really the petty one in this euation The novel Moby Dick eschews a first person whale narrator in favor of Ishmael a bit of a rube who shows up in New Bedford with big dreams of a whaling career Whaling was the Hollywood of that era He meets this reformed cannibal harpooner named ueeueg who hails from the South Seas has lots of tattoos and moonlights as a decapitated human head salesman So basically he s rough trade Ishmael and ueeueg become fast friends and do all kinds of jovial homoerotic things together like cuddle in bed and curiously espy each other undressing despite their pronounced cultural differences I think Ishmael acts as a keen ethnographer when he highlights the variances ueeueg the savage idol worshipping hell condemned unenlightened oogah boogah heathen and Ishmael the white guy Yet their love endures It s as if all the sexual currents in Neil Simon s Odd Couple were suddenly foregrounded Ishmael and ueeueg find employment on the whaler Peuod helmed by none other than the killjoy Captain Ahab himself he of prosthetic whalebone leg abbreviated schlong and legendary grudge holding So the Peuod embarks upon a three or four year whaling adventure around the globe ostensibly in search of valuable whale oil but in fact as we later learn to bring about Ahab s vengeance against the Marxist whale MD who refuses to be expropriated by the Man Interestingly enough as the journey goes on Ishmael s character seems to evaporate In other words he gradually shifts from a compartmentalized first person narrator to an omniscient third person narrator He seems almost to have rescinded his identity or he only rarely invokes it in the latter part of the novel as if while we have been distracted by gloppy whale sperm and passing ships he morphed into the Star Child This transformation is of course intentional and creates a sense of broadening perspective throughout the novel of transcending the menial and specific to embrace a grand universal tragedy Here s the bottom line Moby Dick is an American classic that sounds as though it would be absolutely torturous to read A six hundred page nineteenth century novel about the pursuit of a whale You ve got to be kidding Did I mention that there are chapters after chapters that merely detail the processes and often gory procedures of whaling I know Try to control yourself before you run out to the bookstore or library right Wrong Wrong Wrong This novel is magnificent It proves what I have held true ever since I started writing myself that any subject at all from whittling to colonoscopies to Riverdance to bagpipe playing can be enthralling in the hands of a competent writer a writer like Melville who simultaneously locates the universal in this seemingly very particular narrative and makes even the occasionally perplexing rituals of whaling seem fascinating Also it s a captivating historical document chronicling MD s groundbreaking role in the nascent Whale Power movement Eat tailfin honkies

Herman Melville Ú 0 Read

Widely considered one of the great American novels Herman Melville’s masterpiece went largely unread during his lifetime and was out of print at the time of his death in 1891 Called the great LISA Dad you can t take revenge on an animal That s the whole point of Moby DickHOMER Oh Lisa the point of Moby Dick is be yourself The Simpsons Season 15 Episode 5 The Fat and the Furriest Ahoy Matey Thar be spoilers aheadThere there Stop your crying You didn t like Herman Melville s Moby Dick You didn t even finish it I m here to tell you that s okay You re still a good person You will still be invited to Thanksgiving dinner You won t be arrested incarcerated or exiled You will not be shunned except by English majors they will shun you Your family and friends will still love you or at least stand you Your dog will still be loyal your cat though will remain indifferent Moby Dick can be a humbling experience Even if you get through it you may be desperately asking yourself things like why didn t I like this or am I totally missing something or how long have I been sleeping See Moby Dick is the most famous novel in American history It might be the great American novel But in many ways it s like 3 D movies or Mount Rush it s tough to figure out why it s such a big deal I suppose any discussion about Moby Dick must start with thematic considerations It is after all classic literature and must be experienced on multiple levels if at all So what s the point of Moby Dick Is it about obsession The things that drive each of us in our ambitions whether they be wealth hate prejudice or love Is it a deconstruction of Puritan culture in colonial America Is it a Joseph Campbell style hero s journey Is it a good ol yarn of men against the sea Is it all of these thingsPerhapsIs it a colossal boreDecidedly Now I hate to use that word the b word Boring It means so little It means nothing It is the ultimate grade school criticism subjective vague and expressing annoyance at having been forced to experience the thing at all To say something is boring implies that nothing happens when in fact something is always happening Whether or not that happening is exciting is another uestion Having said all that I found Moby Dick boring in the purest sense of the word On just about every page I felt a distinct lack of interest And this is not a response to the subject matter I love sea stories I enjoyed Nathaniel Philbrick s In the Heart of the Sea and Steven Spielberg s adaptation of Jaws Normally a novel about an obsessed man trying to harpoon a terrifying monster would be right in my wheelhouse What was the problem More specifically what was my problem Because despite what I say most people are going to blame me rather than Melville It all comes down to density I ve never actually harpooned a whale or anything for that matter but I can only assume that it is slightly easier than finishing this turgid mammoth work of literature I found it almost impenetrable Like reading Hawthorne except it doesn t end ever I tried reading it three different times and failed In a meta turn of events the novel became like my white whale elusive and cagey an arch opponent I would get through the first few chapters all right The dinner at the Spouter Inn The homo erotically charged night two men share in bed Melville s exuisitely detailed description of his breakfast companions You could plainly tell how long each one had been ashore This young fellow s healthy cheek is like a sun toasted pear in hue and would seem to smell almost as musky he cannot have been three days landed from his Indian voyage That man next to him looks a few shades lighter you might say a touch of satin wood is in him In the complexion of a third still lingers a tropic yawn but slightly bleached withal he doubtless has tarried whole weeks ashore But who could show a cheek like ueeueg which barred with various tints seemed like the Andes western slope to show forth in one array contrasting climates zone by zone Somewhere in the neighborhood of the fortieth page when Father Mapple starts to give his sermon I d start to get a little restless A few pages into his fire and brimstone screed my mind would wander By the end of the chapter I d realize that instead of paying attention to the text I d actually started to amuse myself by trying to calculate my income taxes in my head And then I d uit During one of my periodic bouts of self improvement which I regularly intersperse with bouts of day drinking I decided to finish this damn thing once and for all To do this I hit upon a plan I brought it to work and forced myself to read twenty pages a day at lunch No surfing the internet or listening to podcasts No chatting with coworkers Until I finished I would dedicate the hour to 20 pages of Melville As a result I 1 finished the book and 2 grew to hate lunch which is really uite a sad turn of events What did I learn Not too much Moby Dick is about a miluetoast named Ishmael who sets out on a whaling ship called the Peuod Like many literary heroes he is a bit of an outcast Also following in the tradition of Charles Dickens tedious first person narrators he is a bit of a cipher Ishmael doesn t do much except offer endless exegeses on every aspect of whaling as well as stultifying digressions on topics too numerous to count don t miss the chapter about how the color white can be evil Ishmael s pedagogic ramblings will soon have you pleading for the whale or a suid or an eel or a berserk seagull to eat him and eat him uickly but painfully so the book will end The Peuod is commanded by Captain Ahab the one legged nut who is obsessed with finding the whale that ate his now absent limb He s sort of the 19th century version of the psycho ex boyfriend who just can t seem to let go the past Ahab is an interesting character in the abstract Profoundly almost suicidally driven The obvious progenitor of Robert Shaw s captivating performance as uint in Spielberg s Jaws However in the context of the book s thees and thous and utterly excessive verbiage and arcane sentence structure the sheen wears off mighty uick It s one of those instances in which I d much prefer someone to tell me about Ahab rather than read about him myself In other words I need an interpreter to translate from Ye Olde English to English The challenging language permeates Moby Dick Melville writes in a overly verbose grandilouent style His book is packed with symbols and metaphors and allusions and nautical terms There were very few pages in which I didn t have to stop reading and flip to the back of the book to read the explanatory notes or consult the glossary There are digressions and solilouies and even at certain points stage directions It is also a primer on whaling in case you wanted to learn The Peuod s whale being decapitated and the body stripped the head was hoisted against the ship s side about half way out of the sea so that it might yet in great part be buoyed up by its native element And there with the strained craft steeply leaning over it by reason of the enormous downward drag from the lower mast head and every yard arm on that side projecting like a crane over the waves there that blood dripping head hung to the Peuod s waist like the giant Holofernes s from the girdle of JudithMaybe you are familiar with the giant Holfernes and Judith s girdle Maybe you want to be familiar with them If so by all means proceed Melville s other notable character is ueeueg the South Seas cannibal with whom Ishmael shares a bed at the Spouter Inn a scene that has launched a thousand dissertations Ishmael s best friend on the Peuod ueeueg expresses the duality of man outwardly a tattooed savage he is also purveyor of what might be termed Christian ethics he gets along with people he turns the other cheek and he s willing to jump into the ocean to save a stranger s life The rest of the cast is too large to get into Besides they all run together in my mind For example I can t tell you off the top of my head whether Starbuck or Stubb was the first mate Frankly I don t really care They all end up in the same place Hint think Jonah Melville really harps on this Biblical allusion as he harps on everything None of this is to say that Moby Dick lacks any charms There are passages of great beauty For instance there is a moment when Pip the black cabin boycourt jester falls out of one of the longboats and is left in the ocean Upon being rescued Pip is changed The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up but drowned the infinite of his soul Not drowned entirely though Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes and the miser merman Wisdom revealed his hoarded heaps and among the joyous heartless ever juvenile eternities Pip saw the multitudinous God omnipresent coral insects that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs He saw God s foot upon the treadle of the loom and spoke it and therefore his shipmate s called him mad I m not going to lie and say I have the slightest idea of what that all means but it sure is pretty I suppose that was part of the allure that Moby Dick held for me Even though I often wanted to uit every once in awhile a passage would jump out at me and smack me across the face with its classicalness Unfortunately you have to wade through so much the mind becomes numb Moby Dick is uite simply a slog It is tedious Detail laden Attention demanding Then after 56 billion pages the climax comes in an instant and in a matter of a few pages everything you learned about the ship the knots that held the sails the crewmembers Ahab everything is for naught because it s all gone and the sea rolls on as it has for a thousand years In a way it s kind of cool to do it that way I mean that s life You don t always get a great death scene But on the other hand what a gypI realize my tone is preemptively defensive After all I consider myself a high functioning individual Like you I assume I don t like being told You just don t get it Oh no I get it At least I tried very hard to get it I just didn t like it And I ll admit I didn t like having to try so hard This complaint is not simply a function of having my brain rotted by soda pop candy and first person shooter video games Rather there is an important argument to be made for clarity Some say Melville s stylized prose is elegant I think it s tortured Some find his allusions illuminating I find them hopelessly outdated Some discover a higher pleasure in unpacking each complex theme I just wanted to push Ishmael over the gunwale or hang him from the yardarm Melville can gussy things up as much as he wants He can toss off references to 19th century prizefighters Schiller s poetry and the Bible he can discourse on civilization and savagery on man and God he can teach you every knot needed to sail a whaler and he can draw out enough metaphors to keep SparksNotes in business for the next hundred years Melville can do all these things but he can t hide the fact that this is a story about some guys going fishing That s it That simple story is the vessel for Melville s explorations Upon this he heaps his complications Whether Melville s techniue is effective or not or whether Melville has convinced you that it s effective is an open uestion Well not to me I think I ve answered the uestion In short I would rather be harpooned fall off my ship get eaten by a great white shark and then have the great white shark swallowed by a whale then read this book ever again I can t get any clearer than that


10 thoughts on “Moby Dick; or The Whale

  1. says:

    LISA Dad you can't take revenge on an animal That's the whole point of Moby DickHOMER Oh Lisa the point of Moby Dick is 'be yourself' The Simpsons Season 15 Episode 5 “The Fat and the Furriest” Ahoy Matey Thar be spoilers aheadThere there Stop your crying You didn’t like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick You didn't even finish it I’m here to tell you that’s okay You’re still a good person You will still be invited to Than

  2. says:

    “Where the White Whale yo”Ah my first DBR And possibly my last as this could be a complete shit show Approaching a review of Moby Dick in a state of sobriety just wasn’t cutting it though So let’s raise our glasses to Option B yeahI fucking love this book It took me eight hundred years to read it but it was so so worth it Melville’s writing is impeccable The parallels he draws even when he’s seemingly pulling them out of his a

  3. says:

    I re read Moby Dick following my research trips to the whaling museums of New Bedford and Nantucket whaling museums The particular edition I read from University of California Press is HIGHLY recommended as the typeface is e

  4. says:

    So Herman Melville's Moby Dick is supposed by many to be the greatest Engligh language novel ever written especially among t

  5. says:

    i triedBoth ends of the line are exposed; the lower end terminating in an eye splice or loop coming up from the bottom against the side of the tub and hanging over its edge completely disengaged from everything This arrange

  6. says:

    I hate this book so much It is impossible to ignore the literary merit of this work though; it is after all a piece of innovative li

  7. says:

    896 Moby Dick The Whale Herman MelvilleMoby Dick; or The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance Sailor Ishmael tells the story of the obsessive uest of Ahab captain

  8. says:

    There once was a grouchy alpha whale named Moby Dick who rather than being agreeably shorn of his blubber and having lumpy sperm scooped out of his cranium like cottage cheese chose life Unlike so many shiftless layabout sea

  9. says:

    I was that precocious brat who first read the whale esue sized Moby Dick at the age of nine Why I had my reasons and they were twofold 1 I was in the middle of my I love Jacues Cousteau phase and this book had a picture of a whale on the cover2 It was on the bookshelf juuuuust above my reach and so obviously it was good because it was clearly meant to be not for little kids¹ and that made my little but bloated ego ver

  10. says:

    So I just finished it a couple of days ago and pretty much everything else pales in comparison About three hundred pages in it was already in my top ten favorite novels of all time and it didn't disappoint muchas I continued reading