Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 47

Chapter 47  The Mat-Maker  …the ball of free will dropped from my hand…  Ishmael contemplates the interweaving of destiny, chance, and free will. Tashtego spots a school of sperm whales. Phantoms surround Ahab.

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 46

Chapter 46 Surmises  …keep a bright look-out, and not omit reporting even a porpoise. Ishmael surmises what Ahab is thinking. Ahab, having impulsively revealed the true reason for the Pequod’s voyage, must guard against rebellion and hold out the hope of monetary riches to  maintain the crew’s loyalty.

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 45

Chapter 45 The Affidavit  …boiling him down into a peculiarly valuable oil…be economical with your lamps and candles! blood was spilled for it.  Ishmael explains why the prior chapter was so important and lays out an argument to convince the reader that Moby Dick is distinguishable from other whales and acts with malice; and denies […]

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 43

Chapter 43 Hark!  A sailor named Archy  on the middle-watch  hears something and warns that there is someone down in the after-hold that has yet to be seen on deck.  Cue the spooky music. The sailors are filling the scuttle-butt.  Now most frequently used to mean rumor or gossip, scuttle-butt was originally a term for […]

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 42

Chapter 42 The Whiteness of the Whale  It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me. The whale is once again described numerous times as “mystical.” Ishmael examines what the Albino whale symbolizes and why its absence of color bothers him. He briefly touches on racism: “…the white man ideal mastership […]

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 41

Chapter 41 Moby Dick  Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. I’m almost at the one third mark of this voyage. Ishmael describes how Moby Dick is different from other whales in that he is ubiquitous and immortal. Moby Dick is infused with some mystic and malignant quality that invests him with […]

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 40

Chapter 40 Midnight, Forecastle  …the undeniable dark side… This chapter is written like a drama. It opens with the crew on deck. A love song gives way to a whaling song. The diversity of the crew is highlighted  Racist insults are directed at Daggoo. A found poem: oh, sentimental tambourine dance, dance, naked girls shake their […]

Reading Moby-Dick Chapter 38

Chapter 38 Dusk  …my miserable office, to obey, rebelling…  Starbuck reconciles himself to helping Ahab reach his “impious end.” He speaks of his own soul with the feminine pronoun: “She’s overmanned;”