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Thread: Moby!

  1. #151
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Madness!

    Madness is a recurring them throughout MD.

    In the Intro Ishmael (whose name is derived from a biblical outcast) tells us he had been contemplating suicide and was inclined to knock hats off of people's heads. Back then, men took great pride in their hats. Such a provocative act would have resulted in a retaliatory pistol shot as people often carried derringers. Thankfully, Ish calmed down and sought refuge at sea. While the ocean provided him with some relief for his madness, it attracted quite number of other aberrant characters such as Jonah the drug dealer, Elijah, Ahab, Pip, Perth the Blacksmith, and other crew members.

    At the Spouter Inn, Jonah the drug dealer sells potions that cause deliriums and death. He charges a penny for a gulp of the poison and finds sailors who were eager to buy the stuff. No motive is given and no further details are provided.

    The next mad character was Elijah the prophet. He appears to have been a seaman in the past and was acquainted with Ahab's past and reputation. Ish says "he's cracked".

    Then there's monomaniacal Captain Ahab. He has one singular aim and that is to find and to dispatch Moby Dick. This is the ultimate madness because the vessel is too small and not suited to the task as he saw it. He screams in his sleep, he repeatedly ignores all the advice and warnings that are given to him, he defies the Law of the Sea by refusing to assist the Rachel in searching for missing sailors, and ignores omens such as when the bird took his hat and when he ignored St Elmo's fire. What's worse is his willingness to take his men to their doom just to satisfy his crazed ego. Friggin guy is crazy!

    Pip ~ seems like he had the mind of a child from the beginning. But when pressed into service as a merchant seaman he failed miserably and nearly drowned. His mental incapacity becomes even more evident despite getting shielded by Ahab.

    Perth the Blacksmith was introduced towards the end. He is in grief over losing his wife and child. Despite the passing of time, he cannot overcome his grief. Strangely, Ahab says that Perth is not mad enough. That he needs to overcome his grief and must direct his energies towards the ship's new mission of finding and killing MD.

    I would venture to guess that the ill fated voyage of the Essex was included in the narrative because the tragedy that occurred caused the seamen to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. This brings to mind that Queequeg was initially portrayed as a mad cannibal. Ultimately, he mellowed as the voyage continued.


    "Woe that is madness!"

    Woe, indeed. What a mad adventure this whole story was!
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  2. #152
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    Sloop John B





    songfacts:


    https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-...s/sloop-john-b


    "Sloop John B" is a traditional West Indies tune about a sunken boat. It was adapted in 1951 by Lee Hays of the Weavers (as "The John B Sails") and revived in 1960 by Lonnie Donegan. The Beach Boys' folk music buff, Al Jardine, turned Brian Wilson onto the Kingston Trio's recording of the song. For their updated version, Wilson added elaborate vocals and a 12-string guitar part. He also changed some of the lyrics, including "This is the worst trip since I've been born" to "...I've ever been on" as a wink to acid culture.
    The song was popularized by The Kingston Trio, who adapted it from a version in poet Carl Sandburg's 1927 songbook The American Songbag. The Kingston Trio's version stays true to the song's Calypso roots, and was released on their first album in 1958. Eight years later, The Beach Boys changed the title to "Sloop John B," and came away with a hit. Their debt to The Kingston Trio goes far beyond this song: The Beach Boys adopted the group's striped, short-sleeved shirts and wholesome persona as well. >>
    This was the biggest hit from The Beach Boys landmark album Pet Sounds. The album was the brainchild of Brian Wilson, who got the title when Beach Boy Mike Love suggested dogs were the only creatures that would like it. To keep the animal theme, Wilson put some barking dogs on the album.



    more ...
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  3. #153
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I had a couple of thoughts about ‘crazy’ as I was reading this book. I know ‘crazy’ and ‘mad’ are slightly different in the way we use them as well as their basic definition, but I’m going to treat them, as a layman would, both as — nuckin’ futs.

    Anyway the first thought I had concerns the essence of Ahab. We have the idea, and it’s generally supported by film and literature, that people change fundamentally when something terrible happens to them.
    – A loved one dies or is murdered
    – Car crash puts you in a wheelchair
    – Rape
    – War
    Stuff like that. Something awful happens to a happy-go-lucky guy, and now he is totally different, angry, brooding, isolated. Evidently human psychology doesn’t work that way. Sure there’s a period, sometimes a long period, of mourning or depression or anger, but generally people get back to their normal selves after a while. A person who was the life of the party before the car crash, will still be that person when he’s a paraplegic, still cracking jokes. It’s who he is.

    I’m thinking Ahab was intense before he lost his leg, and clearly he’s intense after. In fact his intensity is unleashed. The whale didn’t change Ahab. Ahab is Ahab. Boomer is Boomer.

    My second thought was — crazy is a sliding scale. What some societies think of as crazy, others consider totally normal. Queequeg considers it normal to feast on his defeated enemies. New England Quakers consider it mad. Even attitudes towards cannibalism between then and now in North America have changed. I must have breezed past the mentioning of The Essex on my first reading years ago, because I didn’t know the story of The Essex. (And we didn’t have google back then) The way I remember it now, from Philbrick’s book, is when they finally rescued the captain of the Essex, he was clutching a femur bone and wouldn’t let go of it. He was also stark raving mad. But he snapped back and he was hired again as captain of a whaling ship. (That voyage also ended badly) Anyway these guys didn’t just eat the dead, they drew straws to see who was next. And yet once the story got out, the attitude back in Nantucket was — ah well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I don’t think it’d’ve flown nowadays.

    I watched a documentary about a Canadian bush pilot a few years ago. He was taking a pregnant woman from her village in the arctic to the city for medical care. Also on the plane was her adolescent son. The plane crashes and the woman dies. The pilot survives but is badly injured (2 broken legs, I think). The boy is basically okay. They survive for a while, but the food runs out. The pilot discusses with the boy the practicality of eating the woman. (She’d been preserved by below freezing temps) The boy said no. He’d rather die. And he did. The pilot crawled up to the corpse and ate. He survived. When the mounties finally found him they understood what he’d done to stay alive and told him to keep quiet about it or his life would be hell. Well, it’s impossible to keep a story like that under raps, so of course it leaked out. And just as the mounties predicted, his life from then on was hell. In the documentary he’s an old man. The interviewer asked him if he had it to over again what he’d do differently. He said he’d do just as the boy had done.
    Uhhhh...

  4. #154
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    @Sancho


    Another great post!

    If you read of Captain Healy in Michener's Alaska you will come across a similar tragic tale. Life at sea can readily lead to death at sea. Death and worse.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  5. #155
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Thanks, Hellsapoppin. And I’ll return the compliment. Reading Moby this time has been much enhanced for me by your comments and the comments of my other friends here on the Litnet. I’m still trying to figure it out, though.

    Many parts of the book may seem chaotic and disorganized at first; [*****] said he had "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of ensuring one's immortality".
    One such enigma I keep coming back to is that big ole oil painting in the Spouter Inn. Ishmael puzzles over it for quite some time. In fact it almost seems as though he’s been trying to suss out its meaning for a lifetime:

    …it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose.
    Ismael paints a nice picture of this entryway room of the Spouter Inn. He describes everything in it, not just the painting. Hanging on one wall is weaponry from all over the world — a “heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears.” He ponders the nature of the people who would use such implements. This is the point in the book where I started to understand Ismael’s nature. He’s a curious soul. He wants to know everything and he’s going to describe absolutely everything to us. And I get the sense he has spent his life trying to understand and come to grips with his voyage on the Peauod. But there’s an implicit warning that he (and we) may never be able to understand everything:

    Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant.
    The quote up top of course is not Melville. It’s James Joyce. I probably ought to reread Ulysses one of these days.
    Uhhhh...

  6. #156
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    Demon Drink & Debauchery

    Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
    ~ Ishmael


    Throughout MD we see several references to the Demon Drink and the many pitfalls it leads to.

    At the Spouter Inn we see in its environs that it is filled with "shabby shelves, ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks, and in the jaws of swift destruction ... Jonah the withered old {drug dealer}". While the liquor can cause harm, it can also cure catarrh and other illnesses [p 32].

    Ahab induces his men to swear to voyage to the death of MD by filling them up with drink. Drink and pass he orders. Then he prompts them to swear their allegiance to him. "Death to Moby Dick!" Their drunkenness causes their submission to his will and they seal their unhappy fate that way.

    Ch 101 ~ "Decanter"

    There was an incident where sailors drank much 'flip' (beer, rum sugar all in one drink) and this nearly caused a tragedy. However, the crew was experienced and they cared for one another thereby averting any such unhappy incident. This because, as Ish says, the crew was British and they were more conscientious than others.

    In the end we are introduced to the Bottle Conjuror, Perth the blacksmith. Evidently, he lost everything of value to him in life and it appears that drink caused his irreplaceable losses. He goes to sea (like Ish) to drown out his sorrows. But in the end this ultimately leads to his and the other men's doom.

    Thus, Demon Drink contributes to the death of the crew members.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  7. #157
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Darn ~ forgot to mention that in 1840s and 50s nationwide and particularly in New England there was a very strong Temperance Movement. Many advocated the total cessation of liquor sales and use.

    Examples include,


    Cleveland's first benevolent society, the WESTERN SEAMEN'S FRIEND SOCIETY, founded the MARINE TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY in 1840, which survived almost 2 decades. It served the men who sailed Lake Erie and the new canals and attempted to convince these workingmen, along with well-to-do founders, to pledge abstinence from alcohol. In the 1840s, local and national temperance reform was swept up in the Washingtonian movement, which relied upon revivalistic lectures, plays, and literature to achieve the spiritual reclamation of drinkers. Established groups expanded their memberships and several new groups formed, such as the Young Men's Washingtonian Total Abstinence Society and the MARTHA WASHINGTON & DORCAS SOCIETY.


    source: https://case.edu/ech/articles/t/temperance



    Temperance movement was very strong in New England with Maine having a prohibition law in 1851:


    “Not a Particle of Liquor:” 19th Century Temperance
    Overconsumption of alcohol in the early 1800s brought real, negative health and societal issues, many of which gave rise to temperance sentiments by the mid-19th century in Vermont and New York’s rural Adirondacks region. Temperance activists were inspired by Maine’s passage of a prohibition law in 1851, the first statewide law to prohibit the manufacture and sale of liquor in the country. In 1853, Vermont became the second state to enact a statewide prohibition law.





    source: https://www.lcmm.org/prohibition/19t...ry-temperance/





    more Temperance movement history:


    https://portsmouthathenaeum.org/temp...in-portsmouth/




    Temperance movement in Boston:



    https://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.php?ID=185304



    The Temperance Movement in 19th century Boston
    Thomas Lester OPINION FRIDAY 21ST OF JUNE 2019
    In the papers of Bishop Benedict J. Fenwick of Boston is a letter dated June 6, 1836, from Horace Mann, at the time a Massachusetts Representative from Boston, conveying a resolution unanimously passed by members of the Massachusetts Temperance Society. The enclosed resolution reads as follows:

    "That it afford us peculiar pleasure to know that a Temperance Society has recently been formed in this City by our Irish brethren on the highly praiseworthy principal of ... freedom from all sectarian difference in religion."

    While Mann is renowned for his work in education, he also supported other social causes, which came to the fore in antebellum American society, particularly the abolition of slavery and temperance. In the letter, Mann, writing on behalf of the society, offers its "cooperation in any measure which you may deem expedient to ensure the entire fulfillment of the great object we all so much desire, the consummation of the Temperance cause."

    Though there were proponents of temperance during the late 18th century, it did not receive widespread support until the 19th. The Massachusetts Temperance Society, from which Mann writes, was founded as the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance in 1813, preceding the founding of the American Temperance Society, also in Boston, in 1826.

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    Many of the early societies were predominantly Protestant, but Catholics began to join soon after. Though it contained both Catholic and Protestant members, one of the early examples was the Irish Temperance Society, founded in Boston in 1835, and is most likely what Mann is addressing in his letter. Starting in 1838, Catholics took up the issue in greater numbers after being inspired by the work of Capuchin Father Theobald Mathew in Ireland, who that year started his campaign advocating for total abstinence from alcohol. The attention he received in the United States only increased as his followers, already pledged to abstain from alcohol, arrived in the United States in large numbers as they fled widespread famine at home.

    The movement was officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church when the Fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1840) encouraged parishes to form their own societies, which inevitably placed Catholic priests in leadership roles. With Bishop Fenwick's blessing, pastors throughout the then Diocese of Boston administered the pledge of temperance to parishioners, and The Pilot eagerly reported the numbers and shared inspiring stories of individuals whose lives were improved through abstention.

    As diocesan historians have commented, "almost for the first time Catholics and Protestants appeared to have found one moral crusade on which they could combine, and there was a brief period of what might also be called fraternization." Societies marched in parades together, held joint meetings, and Protestant clergy and Catholic priests visited each other's churches to speak about temperance and administer the oath.

    Momentum continued to grow throughout the 1830s, reaching its height during the early 1840s, and then began to ebb. While the movement bridged religious divides, the relationship between groups advocating for responsible use of alcohol and those favoring total abstention became strained. There were also calls for legislative action, leading to laws in Massachusetts controlling the sale of spirits and prohibition in Maine, to name a few, but it is suggested this evolution from social into a political issue may have diminished the enthusiasm of some reformers.

    Although after the perceived height of the movement, a highlight was certainly Father Mathew's visit to the United States in 1849. His itinerary included staying several days in Boston, where he was paraded through the streets and spoke at several large gatherings, administering the oath of abstention to thousands, before continuing to visit other cities throughout the state.






    Boston preacher who advocated temperance:


    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  8. #158
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    I had not been aware of the following: Herman Melville won praise from a temperance journal for his 1850 novel White-Jacket, in which he insists that sailors are predestined to be “driven back to the spirit‑tub and gun‑deck by his old hereditary foe, the ever‑devilish god of grog.”

    https://lithub.com/how-american-auth...of-temperance/







    Indeed, temperance was something spoken about on a daily basis in those days. This especially in Sunday sermons so that the discussion was something that could not be avoided. Which brings to mind, what exactly was Melville saying by illustrating such debauchery in MD? I believe he was suggesting that demon drink had much to do with the unhappy fate suffered by the crews and ships in the novels and that a life of sobriety was one that led to life's betterment. As a teetotaler myself, I could not argue with his suggestion.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  9. #159
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    An aside: We had a tim270 sighting just a moment ago who posted http://www.online-literature.com/for...4-White-Whales a ways back

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor
    tailor

    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

    7-8-2015

  10. #160
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Shocking. And all this from the nation that engendered Carrie Nation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Nation

    Here’s Stubb proving he’s a temperance man by turning down a drink with the captain of The Rose Bud, a French whaling ship:

    Hearing this, the captain vowed that they were the grateful parties (meaning himself and mate), and concluded by inviting Stubb down into his cabin to drink a bottle of Bordeaux.

    “He wants you to take a glass of wine with him,” said the interpreter.

    “Thank him heartily; but tell him it’s against my principles to drink with the man I’ve diddled. In fact, tell him I must go.”

    “He says, Monsieur, that his principles won’t admit of his drinking; but that if Monsieur wants to live another day to drink, then Monsieur had best drop all four boats, and pull the ship away from these whales, for it’s so calm they won’t drift.”
    Uhhhh...

  11. #161
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    While he may not have taken to drink, Stubb used alcohol as a reward for those who worked harder than others. In "Pequod Meets the Virgin" episode, the crew men of the Pequod make a strenuous effort to haul in a whale. In order to give them even more incentive to haul it in, he offers brandy as incentive for harder work: "Do ye love brandy? A hogshead of brandy, then, to the best man." That is, whoever pulls the hardest gets the drink as reward.

    By contrast, Flask offered "slap jacks (pancakes) and quohogs for supper ... {with} baked clams and muffins" as incentive to pull harder.

    Despite all their efforts, the dead whale sank. Their efforts were all in vain. We don't know if the officers followed through with their pledge to reward the hard work. But you wonder if the sinking of the dead whale (highly unusual according to the narration) didn't presage doom for the rest of the voyage. I believe it was but another one of the many warnings Ahab and his crew was being given by Nature and by fate.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  12. #162
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Ah yeah. The chapter about the Rosebud was one of the comedy chapters. The drinking comment was incidental to the main action, which was all about Stubb and a member of the French crew (the Guernsey-man) having a little fun at the expense of the newbie French captain. Stubb, to me, seems like a guy who enjoys bending an elbow from time to time, not a slave to demon drink but a guy who could chug-a-lug a cold-one and engage in a belching contest with his buddies.

    Anyway the Pequod has come upon the Rosebud, which is moored to two stinking, rotting whales. The French crew is struggling to extract what they could from the “blasted” whale. The captain of the Rosebud doesn’t speak English so the Guernsey-man acts as translater. Here’s Stubb and the Guernsey-man playing the captain:

    To this gentleman, Stubb was now politely introduced by the Guernsey-man, who at once ostentatiously put on the aspect of interpreting between them. “What shall I say to him first?” said he.

    “Why,” said Stubb, eyeing the velvet vest and the watch and seals, “you may as well begin by telling him that he looks a sort of babyish to me, though I don’t pretend to be a judge.”

    “He says, Monsieur,” said the Guernsey-man, in French, turning to his captain, “that only yesterday his ship spoke a vessel, whose captain and chief-mate, with six sailors, had all died of a fever caught from a blasted whale they had brought alongside.”

    Upon this the captain started, and eagerly desired to know more.

    “What now?” said the Guernsey-man to Stubb.

    “Why, since he takes it so easy, tell him that now I have eyed him carefully, I’m certain that he’s no more fit to command a whale-ship than a St. Jago monkey. In fact, tell him from me he’s a baboon.”

    “He vows and declares, Monsieur, that the other whale, the dried one, is far more deadly than the blasted one; in fine, Monsieur, he conjures us, as we value our lives, to cut loose from these fish.”

    Instantly the captain ran forward, and in a loud voice commanded his crew to desist from hoisting the cutting-tackles, and at once cast loose the cables and chains confining the whales to the ship.

    “What now?” said the Guernsey-man, when the Captain had returned to them.

    “Why, let me see; yes, you may as well tell him now that — that — in fact, tell him I’ve diddled him, and (aside to himself) perhaps somebody else.”

    “He says, Monsieur, that he’s very happy to have been of any service to us.”

    Hearing this, the captain vowed that they were the grateful parties (meaning himself and mate), and concluded by inviting Stubb down into his cabin to drink a bottle of Bordeaux.

    “He wants you to take a glass of wine with him,” said the interpreter.

    “Thank him heartily; but tell him it’s against my principles to drink with the man I’ve diddled. In fact, tell him I must go.”

    “He says, Monsieur, that his principles won’t admit of his drinking; but that if Monsieur wants to live another day to drink, then Monsieur had best drop all four boats, and pull the ship away from these whales, for it’s so calm they won’t drift.”
    And as it turns out, Stubb was playing both of them. He knew the blasted whale contained the valuable secretion ambergris, which he was keen on getting. He also had seen and old harpoon attached to the dead whale and he wanted to retrieve it. He was successful with both when the Pequod maneuvered between the Rosebud and the blasted whale.
    Uhhhh...

  13. #163
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Life At Sea Can Be HELL

    I may have touched on this a bit earlier but the subject deserves more consideration:

    The very opening of the book features Extracts that introduce us 'poor devils' and 'devils of a sub sub'. Ever what that may be.

    We discussed previously how Ish stumbles upon a Negro church which he calls "Tophet ... {near} ruins of the burnt district". The term is repeated as a portent portending doom on p 69. Tophet, of course, means "hell".

    Ahab remains "pecked by some infernal fatality". [p 156] He has wicked nightmares in "his blazing brain ... throbbing from insufferable anguish ... from which forked flames and lightning shot up, and accursed fiends beckoned him to leap down among them ... in hell ... Ahab would burst from this state room, as though escaping from a bed that was on fire." [p 167]

    Devils and brimstone [p 180] when pulling oars. More sulfurous imagery abounds when the images ''funereal pyres'' and of a burning ship is shown. It had "emblazonings ... flames from a furnace ... red hell ... The continual sight of the fiend shapes before me, capering half in smoke and half in fire, these at last begat kindred visions in my soul ... [which] made ghastly by flashes of redness ... death ... fatal ... glared like devils ... in the congregation of the dead." [pps 326-328]

    When the doomed vessel confronts MD ''tongues of fire'' are heard as Ahab screams like bloody hell. The vessel sinks downward with Ahab and crew like Satan with his fallen angels descending from the Heavens into Hell described as "gaseous Fata Morgana". [p 431] A massive vortex is created and all fall into it except for Ish who was buoyed by the coffin.

    Water everywhere - but the voyage ends as all fall into a demon filled and an unquenchable Hell.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  14. #164
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Ya know, I had some partially formed thoughts concerning the epilogue of Moby Dick, and particularly of the whirlpool created by the Pequod’s rapid sinking.

    And now, concentric circles seized the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lancepole, and spinning, animate and inanimate, all round and round in one vortex, carried the smallest chip of the Pequod out of sight.
    And here’s Ismael, as always, observing and describing the action from the periphery:

    So, floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the halfspent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and, owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirgelike main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks.
    It’s a vivid scene. My first association was of stories I’d heard of sailors in wartime abandoning a sinking ship and then getting sucked into ensuing whirlpool and drowning. I’d mostly heard these stories from accounts of Naval battles in the Pacific in WWII, and I’d always wondered about the physics of it.

    With Melville of course it’s loaded. He writes that “concentric circles” took the Pequod. So the image I immediately thought of was Dante’s 9 circles of hell. But then a vortex, although circular, is not concentric. It’s spiral: “Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle…” So now the image that pops in my head is of the spiral of stars in the universe, or the singularity at center of a black hole, or more domestically of the swirl of a freshly-flushed commode (who’s singularity is more brown than black, har-har). Anyway the feeling is that once stuck in the pull of the vortex, it’s inescapable. The whole book felt like that — stuck in a vortex of ever tightening circles, things getting weirder and weirder, and heading for an inevitable conclusion. By the chase chapters, the gravitational pull is extreme.

    I asked myself — how in the world did Ismael survive? Did he only survive only so as to tell the tale? Did he have to survive? The way I understand it, the initial publishing of the British version left the epilogue out, which practically changes everything. At any rate, it’s something for me to ponder.
    Uhhhh...

  15. #165
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I gotta keep the soundtrack going. Here's one for the cosmic vortex in the epilogue:

    The Wheel, Jerry Garcia
    https://youtu.be/5ZK8UmvTocQ?si=FbjsqVdHxyOt4oCy

    One thing that makes Moby a great book is it's perpetual relevance. It's about a 19th century whaling expedition, but it's about so much more and it continues to speak to us in our own times.
    Uhhhh...

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