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Thread: Moby!

  1. #121
    Registered User bounty's Avatar
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    remember how I had said "remind me when you get to chapter 128?"

    the captain of the Rachel was a fellow named "gardiner." one of my dear friends from undergrad days was from Nantucket, and her last name is gardner. its a historical name on the island.

    there is also a relatively famous island that is a part of ny state, but is actually privately owned, "gardiner's island" off the east coast of long island.

    one wonders the connection between Melville's character(s), and those real life things.

    off in a different direction, I posted this on another thread, its worth sharing here in hopes of more people seeing it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXCAAZ8_fCM
    Last edited by bounty; 12-14-2023 at 11:15 AM.

  2. #122
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    Queequeg

    Queequeg is the enabler in this tale. Without him, we would not have a narrator. He is Ishmael's facilitator throughout and his sacrifice is what allows him to survive. In the end, Ishmael's hopeful message to the word came to us through the medium of Queequeg. Here are a few ways in his he has been portrayed over the years:



    Hollywood:











    Queegueg and Ishmael:






    In modern day renditions, they are portrayed just a bit closer together:






    and he is a tad more menacing:


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

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  3. #123
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    You know who’d make a great Queequeg? — Duane Johnson.

    Bounty, Chapter 128 seemed fairly straight forward to me. The Pequod is in hot pursuit of Moby and comes across the Rachel, another Nantucket whaling ship. The captain of the Rachel boards the Pequod and beseeches Ahab to help search for a lost boat of his, which it turns out has his young son aboard. The Rachel’s captain says he won’t leave the Pequod until he gets a firm yes from Ahab to help in the search. Well, we all know Ahab by now, so is there any doubt in anybody’s mind what Ahab’s answer will be? — It was a flat no.

    There was never any doubt in my mind what Ahab’s answer would be, or for that matter which captain’s will would prevail. So I kept asking myself what’s the purpose of this chapter? One thing we learn from the Rachel’s captain is that Ahab has a young son back in Nantucket. You see, the two of them know each other.

    The very next chapter, The Cabin, is short and strange. Ahab and Pip are in the cabin. Ahab makes a move to leave and go topside, but Pip grabs his hand and tries to go with him. Ahab will have nothing of it and tells Pip to stay in the cabin. There’s an acknowledgment by both of them that they’re both crazy — Pip lost his marbles when he jumped from the boat and Stubb left him to drown. Ahab of course hasn’t been right since Moby bit off his leg. — Pip seems to think they can each fill the gaps in the other, and in fact it’s the only shot either of them have at sanity. Ahab agrees, but Ahab doesn’t want to be cured.

    Ahab — “There is that in thee, poor lad, which I feel too curing to my malady. Like cures like; and for this hunt, my malady becomes my most desired health.”

    Pip — “No, no, no! ye have not a whole body, sir; do ye but use poor me for your one lost leg; only tread upon me, sir; I ask no more, so I remain a part of ye.”

    Ahab — “…but methinks like-cures-like applies to him too; he grows so sane again.”

    Pip — “They tell me, sir, that Stubb did once desert poor little Pip, whose drowned bones now show white, for all the blackness of his living skin. But I will never desert ye, sir, as Stubb did him. Sir, I must go with ye.”

    Ahab — “If thou speakest thus to me much more, Ahab’s purpose keels up in him. I tell thee no; it cannot be.”

    And their fate is sealed.

    We do see the Rachel again. After the big chase, and after everybody except Ishmael is on the bottom of the sea, the Rachel picks up Ishmael. The Rachel was still searching for their lost boat. So I wondered if Melville threw the Rachel chapter into the story for the sole purpose of making Ismael’s rescue plausible.
    Uhhhh...

  4. #124
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Duane Johnson?

    Not a bad choice at all, especially since he is half Pacific Islander.


    Am a huge rugby fan and my choice would be the fierce Timoci Tavatavanawai who is Fijian:


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

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  5. #125
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    Queequeg [Reprise]

    noble savage, in literature, an idealized concept of uncivilized man, who symbolizes the innate goodness of one not exposed to the corrupting influences of civilization

    source: Google



    There is so much more to discuss about this fascinating character. Clearly he falls within this category of noble savage. He definitely is a primitive, one given to impulsive behavior with a ready disposition to combat any perceived enemy. But he relents and treats familiars with respect and solicitude. He was at one time a prince among his people. But he renounced his heritage owing to a desire to familiarize himself with Christianity. His face is heavily tattooed which symbolize that he had been a cannibal in his early years. He sells shrunken human heads which make you wonder how he procured them ~ by any chance, did he croak those bodies or could he have been a grave robber? We'll never know.

    When he initially meets Ishmael, he nearly kills him. Then, just as quickly he engages in that Matelotage arrangement with Ish and pledges that he would die for him if need be. He is highly adept at using the harpoon and actually uses it to shave! The narration then goes on to show that even though he is a pagan, Quee has noble qualities. He consults an amulet for spiritual guidance and proceeds to have a Ramadan ~ a series of fasting days much like those which are done by devout Muslims. Ish observes that despite his ritualism, his pal Quee is a good man, one worthy of respect by all. Despite all the teaching of that era which believed that pagans were bad people, Ish quickly learns that Quee is good and worthy.

    Quee saves the life of a bigot who mocked him - "We cannibals must help these Christians." But he never fully abandons his pagan ways by using others as his sofa and day bed in Ch XXI because it was ''convenient''. He serenely smokes his tomahawk pipe.

    In Ch LXVI there is a massive shark massacre. Despite the danger Quee sticks his hand in but does fear getting it bit off. He shows even more fearlessness when he saves the life of Tashtego. Ultimately he gets sick and requests a coffin to be buried at sea. He recovers but paints the coffin with markings that appear to be like his many tattoos. Ultimately that coffin is what saves Ish's life thus proving that integration and religious tolerance is what enhances life.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  6. #126
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I hate to think the only reason Duane Johnson popped into my head as an ideal casting choice for Quequeg is that he’s the only famous Pacific Islander I could think of. But he’s got the blood. He’s got the physique. He’s got the hairdoo. He’s already partially tatted up. And he seems like the kind of guy who’d help a brother out who’d fallen into the ocean while entombed in a whale’s head.

    It’s an action chapter, which is a relief after a couple of chapters of Ismael’s musings, but there are some odd correlations made by Ismael between the harpooners and the medical profession:

    And thus, through the courage and great skill in obstetrics of Queequeg, the deliverance, or rather, delivery of Tashtego, was successfully accomplished, in the teeth, too, of the most untoward and apparently hopeless impediments; which is a lesson by no means to be forgotten. Midwifery should be taught in the same course with fencing and boxing, riding and rowing.
    Evidently Tashtego was delivered by C-section. At any rate, Ismael gives us no doubt that being born, or in Tashtego’s case re-born, is a bloody battle.

    Earlier that day the harpooners were extracting the whale’s teeth:

    Queequeg, Daggoo, and Tashtego, being all accomplished dentists, are set to drawing teeth.
    (I’m new to the whole E-reader thing and I made a lot of highlights in this book, which makes cutting and pasting easy)
    Uhhhh...

  7. #127
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Rachel

    Sancho,

    Re Rachel

    ... So I kept asking myself what’s the purpose of this chapter?

    We do see the Rachel again. After the big chase, and after everybody except Ishmael is on the bottom of the sea, the Rachel picks up Ishmael. The Rachel was still searching for their lost boat. So I wondered if Melville threw the Rachel chapter into the story for the sole purpose of making Ismael’s rescue plausible.


    A very good note.

    Throughout MD we see repeated references to religion, paganism, Christianity, and the Bible. In Judaism, despite its mythic patriarchal image, the religion actually gives much credit to historic matriarchs. Rachel was one of them. Despite being barren she ultimately gives birth to two sons who are the sires of two of the 12 tribes of Israel: Joseph and Benjamin. She had a maid and she arranged to have that maid become the mother of two other Israelite tribes. I have forgotten all the historical politics that her story dealt with but do recall that she was regarded as a savioress of children, including "lost" children or something like that, as well as a leading matriarch (she has been referred to as Mother Rachel) responsible for perpetuating the tribes. In the New Testament there was this blurb from Matt 2:18 ~

    A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more

    Which shows that she, indeed, had great concern for the children of the tribe because she was a loving mother.

    Thus, no surprise that the marooned Ishmael was rescued by the Rachel.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  8. #128
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    Captain Boomer - Chapter 100

    Pequod Meets the Samuel Enderby of London


    Pequod meets the Samuel Enderby. Ahab is welcomed aboard by Captain Boomer. But Ahab had never been on another vessel since his unfortunate meeting with MD and has some difficulty in boarding. With some adjustments in the rigging he was able to board ship. Like Ahab, Boomer had had an unfortunate encounter with the White Whale. He lost an arm as a consequence. The arm was replaced with whale bone much like Ahab had done on his leg. However, the artificial limb was shaped like a weapon. While Ahab seethes in endless rage over MD's action and his fanatical desire for revenge, Boomer engages in much frivolity over it. He and his medic Dr Bunger (perhaps a play on the word bungler??) share a series of laughs over the encounter and how the doc's fruitless efforts panned out. Both drank hot toddies (rum drinks) to drown out the pain and the mis-emotion over the loss of the limb. Bunger says Boomer does go into fits and starts every once in a while. In fact, Boomer put a dent in his head though the latter denied it.



    Cᴀᴘᴛᴀɪɴ Bᴏᴏᴍᴇʀ

    Ahab demands to know what direction was MD headed and also demands to know why Boomer has not pursued him. Boomer asks, 'isn't losing one arm enough?" He has reconciled himself to his unhappy fate and knows that the whale was only doing what it needed to do as self preservation. Boomer gives him the proper direction and concludes that Ahab was sick with madness as he proceeds to his destiny.

    He was so right.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  9. #129
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    Chowdah

    when ya goin' to the baa, paak ya caa at Havad yaad
    and give the guy a quata fo' a cup of clam chowdaa



    Being originally from New York I always got a kick out of poking fun at the old Boston/Yankee accent. Hollywood has always had fun with this as well and even Saturday Night Live has had a couple of humorous skits about it. Sad to say, the old accent is disappearing and is now only visible outside of the immediate city area.* This because of all the gentrification that has taken place in recent years and because old Bostonians have been forced to move out.

    Bostonians have always prided themselves on their Yankee chowder** as well as they should be because it is hearty and very tasty. I've made a few bowls of New England chowder over the years and even had my recipe for it presented on Yankee magazine when that website had a public forum (it does not exist anymore).

    In MD it comes as no surprise that two exhausted travelers in Ishmael and Queequeg enter a food joint to partake of hearty and enlivening Yankee chowder. The hostess Mrs Hussey arranged for them to have two very tasty bowl of clam chowder which they ate with great despatch and much delight. Ish enjoyed it so much that he ordered cod bisque which, evidently, he enjoyed as well. The hostess told them she would have more for breakfast the next morning which Ish took as good news. For variety, he asked for some smoked herring in the breakfast meal.

    Ah, I like Ish's taste ~ I love chowder, cod, and smoked herring. Mmm, mmm ...

    Which reminds me that, sad, to say, folks here in Minnesota don't particularly like sea food. They can take fresh water fish but not ocean fish and the many varieties of sea food. I've had people here laughing at me for eating sea weed. In fact, one little girl saw me eating some and she almost puked! Ha, ha! The joke's on them --- I LOVE sea food just like Ishmael and Queequeg.











    *this video has a perfect example of what I mean - note her Braintree accent. It's a thing of beauty as far as I'm concerned:
    https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=b9D0r-YtwHQ
    Please note that it contains language which may be deemed offensive to some and this is why I did not give the direct link.


    **known as Boston, New England, or Yankee chowder ~ I call it Yankee chowder. For really good flavor, add grated parsnips, Romano cheese, and extra clams or chopped herring.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  10. #130
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Ah yes, Rachel. Methinks Melville’s contemporaries would have immediately made that connection. I had to google her. Whenever an Old Testament name pops up in Moby, it’ll mean something. Given the reflexive anti-semitism of the day, I was mildly surprised to find that, as you pointed out, Rachel is someone who is mainly revered in the Jewish community. She didn’t seem to gain much traction in the Christian tradition. Nevertheless it would signal Melville’s readers that the purpose of The Rachel is to wander the sea (desert) looking for lost children.

    BTW, I’m trying to resurrect “methinks” into our modern lingo. I like it. It’s useful and less clunky than “IMHO”. In fact just the other day I was in a restaurant and said to the waitress, “methinks I’ll have have the pancakes.” She smiled at me like I was a half-bright six-year-old and then wandered off towards the kitchen. The word kinda reminds me of a word my niece and nephew used a lot when they were little. “Lookit”

    Niece — Hey, JT, lookit!
    Nephew — I don’t wanna lookit. You lookit.
    Niece (with exasperation) — Jaaay-Teee! Lookit, lookit, LOOKIT!
    Sancho (with mild amusement and slight exasperation) — You know, niece, lookit is not a real word.
    Niece (with severe exasperation) — Oh yes it is, Uncle Sancho! It’s like when I say to JT, (pointing at the object in question) Hey, JT, lookit this!
    Sancho — You win, niece.
    Side note, nephew stuck to his guns and never did look at what his sister wanted him to look at.

    Arm and a Leg chapter was fun. It was vividly written. I almost felt like I could join in with the banter between Boomer and Bunger. Who hasn’t witnessed this sort of thing? It’s as though these guys are on stage, performing their schtick for an audience, even playing their audience a little bit. And then there is the moment when Boomer realizes Ahab is totally bonkers. He gives Fedallah a questioning look and Fedallah replies by simply putting his finger to his lips.
    Uhhhh...

  11. #131
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Chowdah! I just left Boston yesterday. I didn’t have the chowdah. But I did pick up a box of cannolis in the North End. The concierge saw them while we were getting on the van to go to the airport. — “Ya know, those cannolis theyah, they don’t allow ‘em outta tha zip code. You’ll have’ta leave’em hee-ah. I think he was from Southie.

    So I’m still not convinced Melville intended Moby as an extended metaphor for slavery, but I wanted to expand my horizons, so I read his novella Benito Cereno. I was aware of it, but I hadn’t read before yesterday. It can easily be read on a 5 1/2 hour flight. Hellsapoppin, I’m sure you’ve read it, but for anybody else reading along with us I’ll give it a quick rundown:

    Benito (Don) Cereno — Captain of the Spanish slave ship The San Dominick
    Amasa Delano — Captain of the American sealing ship The Bachelor’s Delight
    Babo — Leader of the slave uprising.
    Atufal — Co-leader of the slave uprising, former African king
    Alexandro Aranda — Slave owner

    It’s 1799 and Captain Delano and his crew are anchored in the bay of a remote island off the coast of Chile, when a ship flying no flag and in poor condition limps into the bay. Delano takes a launch to the ship to offer assistance and investigate. The ship turns out to be a Spanish slave ship and Delano meets its sickly Captain, Benito Cereno, and his servant, Babo. There are only a few Spanish sailors on board, but there are many black slaves including men women and children. The ship’s in bad shape and they’re just about out of water and food. Delano sends his launch back to the Bachelor for food and supplies. Captain Cereno tells the American they had run into bad weather/seas around Cape Horn and also they’d had a scurvy outbreak that killed many.

    During the back-and-forth between the two captains, the servant, Babo, never leaves Cereno’s side. Delano notices many odd things on the ship and probes Cereno for information, but the clue bird never lands. To the reader, the whole situation fairly screams of mutiny/uprising by the slaves, but Delano just doesn’t see it.

    The launch comes back and supplies are unloaded. Captain Delano boards the launch for the return to the Bachelor. Just as the launch is pulling away, Captain Cereno leaps over the bulwarks onto the boat and Captain Delano finally realizes what has happened on the San Dominick. The crew of the Bachelor mount an incursion and the San Dominick is recaptured.

    There’s an investigation and a trial in Lima and Babo is executed. (Atufal was killed as the San Dominick was retaken. Alexandro Aranda had been killed during the uprising)

    What I liked about this story is how it pulls the reader into the narrative. It’s an adventure story with the curve of an adventure story. And it’s told from the perspective of Captain Delano. He is duped by Babo and Atufal, but when he realizes there’s been a brutal uprising and mutiny he knows he needs to right the wrong. And I’d imagine most readers go along with him until they realize — Hey! Wait a minute! It’s an effing slave ship. Those guys should be uprising! What the ef are you doing, Delano?

    Anyway, the story is a fictionalized version of a real slave mutiny. The timeline was changed to coincide with the brutal slave uprising in Haiti. Captain Delano represents hypocritical northerners. Captain Cereno represents the slave-holding south. Methinks.
    Uhhhh...

  12. #132
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    ^methinks you made two very good analytical comments there ~ much kudos to you
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  13. #133
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Hahaha. It’s catching on.
    Thanks. Methinks Benito Cereno puts Melville firmly in the abolitionist camp.
    Uhhhh...

  14. #134
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    Doubloon

    Not quite sure how to approach this subject but I'll give it a go:


    We are often told that money is the root of all evil.

    But first, let's go back to early in the book when Quaker Captain Bildad wants to keep Ishmael's earnings to a very bare minimum. He offers only 1/777th of a "lay" for his three year labors. He does this and says "where your treasure is, your heart is also" quoting Matt 6:21. Captain Peleg objected to this small sum, said that it was a "swindle", and ordered that he get 1/300th instead. Bildad claims that he was concerned about the stockholders of the ship and that they were entitled to a good return on their investment. Strange that he forgot that the rule about treasure applies to them and to him as well. This is all highly ironic because Quakers, though Christian (in theory) they were such slave drivers at sea. The non materialist Ish accepts the payment terms without objection.


    Ch XCIX ~ the Doubloon

    The gold piece is of great value - $16 in those days - and one such coin was shown to the crew members by Ahab. The coin was offered to the first one to spot the whale at sea. While his evil quest was certainly not motivated by money (he was motivated by hate and a yearning for revenge), he used the money as an incentive for the men to join with him in the madness inspired pursuit of the whale. All had a good view of the precious coin. Ahab was quite taken by its many inscription and symbols including the Zodiac. Starbuck sees the symbols as reflecting Death. The Old Manx believes it portends the time when the whale will be found. Queequeg and Fedallah have their own views on it as does Pip who makes several senseless mutterings. Ultimately he predicts that the money will be found within the vessel some day at the bottom of the sea. He was likely correct.

    While it cannot be said that money is the actual cause of all the evil that befell everyone, there is no question that the doubloon did serve as incentive for the crew men to join with Ahab's evil and crazed intentions. Because of that, it led to their deaths. Thus, in a sense, it was the root of evil - the evil death of the vessel and the crew members.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  15. #135
    Registered User bounty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellsapoppin View Post
    Not quite sure how to approach this subject but I'll give it a go:
    We are often told that money is the root of all evil.
    just a quick interjection poppin if it helps. its a common mistake, but the actual biblical phrase is that "for the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil..." 1 timothy 6:10.

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