➜ [Epub] ❧ Moby-Dick; or, The Whale By Herman Melville ➦ – Transportjobsite.co.uk

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale quotes Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, litcharts Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, symbolism Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, summary shmoop Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale 5a05b190 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 InCalled The Greatest 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, Religion, 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 Knee

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 Dick.HOMER 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 ahead.There, 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 things Perhaps.Is it a colossal bore Decidedly 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 question 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 exquisitely 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 Queequeg 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 quit 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 quite a sad turn of events What did I learn Not too much Moby Dick is about a milquetoast named Ishmael who sets out on a whaling ship called the Pequod 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 squid or an eel or a berserk seagull to eat him, and eat him quickly but painfully so the book will end The Pequod 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 Quint 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 quick 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, grandiloquent 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 soliloquies and even, at certain points, stage directions It is also a primer on whaling, in case you wanted to learn The Pequod 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 Pequod s waist like the giant Holofernes s from the girdle of Judith.Maybe 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 Queequeg, 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 Pequod, Queequeg 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 boy court 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 quit, 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 quite 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 gyp I 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 technique is effective or not, or whether Melville has convinced you that it s effective, is an open question Well, not to me I think I ve answered the question 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.

  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, yeah I 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 ass, which I swear to God he s doing, because who can find this many parallels to draw when talking about a whale, are just perfect He can compare any and every aspect of the whale did you know this whole book is about a whale to the human condition And he does so in a way that is humorous and poetic It is pretty remarkable, I tell you.So here s the thing I had zero interest in whales before starting this book But holy hell if I haven t been googling the crap out of them lately I mean, it s the mark of a superior writer isn t it to command one s attention not just to hold it but to carry it forth hither and thither for seven hundred pages of a book about a whale It s impressive, really, when you think about it And yet, this book suffers a severe level of under appreciation on TEH GOODREADS It has an average rating of 3.33, which is extraordinarily dismal by this website s standards and with almost a quarter million ratings so far, it is unlikely to migrate much from that figure So in an attempt to understand what it is people hate about this book, I filtered the community reviews to show 1 star results, and here is what I ve discovered This book would have been great, admits Anulka, if it weren t for that darn tootin whale interfering with the story The language is too much for Gil Michelini, who believes words have their place after all we are not heathens , but they simply do not belong in this novel Marlan s complaint is that there is too great a lack of story here, so much so that it feels crammed in It s like trying to squeeze a cookie into a breadbox Some have experienced extreme aversions to this book It has made Colleen seasick, quite frankly it has totally messed up Edwin s mind and it has made Robert want to light himself on fire Even Liz has acknowledged a preference for drowning if such an option existed as a substitute for reading Moby Dick Tracy Dunning would recommend renting the cartoon version, which far surpasses the actual text in storytelling capability Still others have been befuddled by this novel s ability to hoodwink its readers into thinking they like it when in fact they don t , a bizarre phenomenon Esther Hansen can personally attest to Finally, Keya offers a sobering perspective, which is that people are only reading this book to read it, meaning that if they weren t reading it, then it would simply be a book not being read Truly, Yogi Berra couldn t have put it better himself.But Keya does bring up an interesting point here why doesn t Ahab just get over it and live his life I mean, should that be so hard In some sense, the White Whale is nothing than a stand in for everything that has gone wrong in Ahab s life He mounts this campaign against the stand in but isn t that sort of disingenuous After all, it s not the whale that s responsible for his miserable life Ahab claims to be an instrument of fate, but fate in this case seems nothing than a self fulfilling prophecy.Oh, fuck, my fingers hurt from the backspace.Look, here s the bottom line I was afraid this book would be long and boring And now I wonder how many people hesitate reading it because of its bad rap Well I m here to tell you, Potential Reader, this book might be long but it is by no means boring Therefore, it is long and exciting TWSS I implore you to ignore the negative reviews Melville has a talent for flowing, humorous prose, and there is so much of it here to enjoy.So go find your White Whale P.S Gin rules.

  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 extremely agreeable to the eyes and the illustrations are subtle and instructive without ever interfering or drawing attention away from the story Perhaps that s where the latent interest grew deep in my soul as regards the whaling museums and since life offered me recently the opportunity to see and enjoy both, I grabbed at the chance and am so glad to have done so This reading of Melville is so much interesting having now a lot background on the various factors social, economic, and physical that informed the writing and structure of the story.Many modern readers have been turned off of the unabridged Moby Dick due to the many chapters of background information that Ishmael feels compelled to pass us about whales and whaling I can understand that some folks want to get on with the story and don t want to have all this detail Personally, the whole book seems so much real to me now When I try to imagine the life of the 21 28 people on a 3 5 year whaling mission with a back breaking job punctuated with long periods of boredom and intense periods of turmoil whether from ocean storms or from the hunt and ensuing processing of blubber , I can appreciate how the story moves at its own pace and during those long hours at sea while the sailors are working on their scrimshaw or scanning the horizon for spouts, that Ishmael is in his cabin writing all this detail down about this job that he is so incredibly proud of If you remove this description, it removes much of the texture of the book and reduces it to an adventure story rather than a universal chez d oeuvre.Several moments merit mention Father Mapples sermon on Jonah Chapter 9 which sets the tone for most of the book, the speech of Ahab in recruiting his crew into his diabolical mission against Moby Dick Chapter 36 and the heart breaking acquiescence of Starbuck, and my favorite part so far, The Grand Armada Chapter 89 The description of the whale nursery with the mothers and children looking up through the water at their hunters was spectacular writing and makes one dream of being out there in one of those flimsy boats to see it.The writing is by turns ironic, serious, violent, and tender On one hand is the famous Shark Massacre Chapter 66 where Melville weaves in an image of the sharks actually eating themselves in their frenzy amazing realism and exceedingly violent On the other hand, the cleverness of Stubb as he manages to steal the sick whale with the ambergris away from the hapless French captain of the Rose Bud Chapter 91 was hilarious and I laughed out loud Even the seemingly dry description chapters often have some high degree of tongue in cheek such as the suggestion that the Kings and Queens were all coronated in whale oil Chapter 25 All of these add a certain unique texture to Moby Dick and seem to me indispensable to the overall majesty of the book.It was a breathless ending as one would expect, but there was also a feeling of anti climax I think that despite the excitement of the chase and the apocalyptic ending, I enjoyed the build up of the suspense all during the book to the end There was a bit of sentimentality towards the end that was not really present during the rest of the textalmost as if Melville was impatient to get to the end, to get the end of Ahab out of his system or something And the whirlpool that swallows everything but Ishmael is a bit supernatural which shocks after having such vivid realism for the previous 550 pages It was also strange that after occupying such a central and tender role for Ishmael through the first 100 200 pages of the book, Queequeg just disappears from the action And how is it that, as a green hand, Ishmael suddenly replaces Fedallah in Ahab s boat That seems like a bit of a stretch to me But then, I am nit picking on one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time and that probably sounds ridiculous and pretentious perhaps.What I loved about this book the atmosphere, the excruciating detail, the variety of dialogsyou feel like you are also on the deck of the Pequod when Starbuck and Ahab converseok that reminds me of another thing I found annoying Albeit, the last soliloquy of Ahab is one of the best in Moby Dick, it seems almost out of character for him the whole book he is this dark, moody almost one dimensional character and suddenly we seem him shedding a tear and opening his heart to the one that nearly shot him, the First Mate Starbuck Perhaps I am too influenced by television but it seems a bit incongruent this time around.One aspect that just stuck out for me this time around was the latent homosexuality of the narrator, Ishmael Besides the obvious coziness between him and Queequeg, the description of his hands deep in spermaceti squeezing pieces of oil but also friends of other sailors performing the same task seemed highly sexualized to me I really hadn t thought about this aspect of Melville at all and upon doing a bit of research learned that he and Nathaniel Hawthorne of Scarlet Letter fame and to whom Moby Dick is dedicated may have been lovers Here is a letter from Melville to Hawthorne It doesn t actually change my perception or understanding of the book, it is just a curious aspect that added a certain depth or texture to some of the passages such as the one I cited.There is definitely something universal about this story where Ahab clearly feels above morality and is brutally crushed by his pride The sad thing is that the entire crew pays the ultimate price for their adherence to his obsession The last two encounters that are described with other boats are masterful the contrast with the wild abandon of the Bachelor and the rejection of the forlorn Rachel were both perfect set up for the final acts of this tragedy.I ll put this aside for now and come back to it in a few years If this inspired you to reread this masterpiece, please let me know in the commentsand if I have any further thoughts, I ll be sure to share them here my mateys This is still one of my favorite books but I also read Bartleby the Scrivener, The Confidence Man, and Billy Budd from Melville which were so great Need to re read this one yet again And please don t bother with the unabridged version go for the whole whale Need to reread this again..

  4. says:

    So, Herman Melville s Moby Dick is supposed by many to be the greatest Engligh language novel ever written, especially among those written in the Romantic tradition Meh.It s not that I don t get that there s a TON of complexity, subtlety, and depth to this book about a mad captain s quest for revenge against a great white whale And on the surface it s even a pretty darn good adventure story And, honestly, Melville s prose is flowing, elegant, and as beautiful as any writing can possibly be It s magnificent, actually.It s just that any enjoyment or satisfaction I got out of the book was overshadowed by the tedious, largely pointless stretches of encylopedic descriptions about the whaling industry Melville strikes me as one of those people who would corner you at a party and talk incessantly about whaling, whaling ships, whales, whale diet, whale etymology, whale zoology, whale blubber, whale delacies, whale migration, whale oil, whale biology, whale ecology, whale meat, whale skinning, and every other possible topic about whales so that you d finally have to pretend to have to go to the bathroom just to get away from the crazy old man Only he d FOLLOW YOU INTO THE BATHROOM and keep talking to you about whales while peering over the side of the stall and trying to make eye contact with you the whole time.Look, it s not that I don t get it Or at least some of it I get, for example, that Ishmael s description of the absurdities of whale classification systems provide a backdrop against which to project the recurring theme of mankind s doomed quest for complete understanding of truths that are ineffable and forever hidden sometimes literally under the surface I get that I just wish the guy didn t feel like he had to take it to such absurd lengths I do not need twenty pages about how to properly coil a harpoon line I can see why most people don t make it through this book without judicious skimming.Still, I feel like I accomplished something and that I can now nod sagely the next time someone makes an oblique reference to Captain Ahab, mentions the Pequod, or refers to something as that person s Great White _______ And chances are they skimmed than I did, anyway.

  5. says:

    i tried.Both 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 quill, 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 detail.i 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 experience and 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 quite good.but no turns out that when i was eighteen, i was already fully formed.and 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 dull.and 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 icebergs.at 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 sharks.i 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 interlude.and you would think that a book so full of semen and dick and men holding hands while squeezing sperm and grinning at each other would have been enough, but i remain unconverted, and sad of it.maybe if i had read this one, it would have been different oh, no, i have opened the GIS door i am only including this one because i totally have that shark stuffie maybe i am just a frivolous person, unable to appreciate the descriptive bludgeoning of one man s quest to detail every inch of the giant whale or maybe all y all are wrong and deluded.heh dick.come to my blog

  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 literature Melville broke narrative expectations when he shed the narrator Ishmael and burst through with his infinite knowledge of all things whale It was most creative, but then he pounded the reader with his knowledge of the whaling industry that could, quite literally, fill several textbooks This made the book so incredibly dull I m not being na ve towards this book s place in the literary cannon, but I am sharing my agony for a book that bored me half to death with its singularity of purpose and expression it s obsession with whales I m just sick of themI understand that this is the main motif of the book Ahab becomes fuelled with his need to slay the leviathan, but it wasn t Ahab who droned on for three hundred pages about the properties of whales Despite the allegorical interpretation between the relationship, and the comparisons between man and fish, the book is unnecessarily packed out There are passages and passages that add nothing to the meaning or merit of the work Melville explains every aspect of the whaling industry in dry, monotone, manner There are entire chapters devoted to describing different whale types, and even one even discussing the superiority of the sperm whale s head Can you catch the expression of the Sperm Whale s there It is the same he died with, only some of the longer wrinkles in the forehead seem now faded away I think his broad brow to be full of a prairie like placidity, born of a speculative indifference as to death But mark the other head s expression See that amazing lower lip, pressed by accident against the vessel s side, as as firmly to embrace the jaw Does not this whole head seem to speak of an enormous practical resolution in facing death This Right Whale I take to have been a Stoic the Sperm Whale, a Platonian, who might have taken up Spinoza in his latter years.It is just so agonising to read This is quite possibly the most painful book I ve ever read in my life I ve never hated a book than I hate this behemoth I just felt there was no purpose to so many of the chapters they didn t add to the narrative or increase Ahab s obsession Also, at times it wasn t entirely clear who the narrator was There would be the occasional glimpse of Ishmael, and his aspect of the story, and then this all knowing entity with an unfathomable depth of whaling knowledge would begin up again Tedium defined The writing gives new breath to the definition of mundane, monotonous and tedious It is repetitive, expressionless and soul destroying I became and annoyed the further I got into this book, as soon as some semblance of plot would come through, and some small degree of progress, I would be hit with another fifty pages or so describing the properties of whale bubbler, and even on one occasion a chapter devoted to rope How fun I began to hate this book with a passion that made me almost scream every time the word whale came up Now, this was some tough reading Moreover, I could never understand how Melville could consider whaling such a noble profession There is nothing noble about it, it may have once been a necessity, but it has always been cruel and brutal It may have been a means for communities to survive and people to eat, but there is no honour in it How can shoving a pole through a whale, cutting its head off, slicing away its blubber and desecrating its body be considered in any way praiseworthy It s an aspect of life that is comparable to man today slaughtering a cow There is simply no glamour to be had in the deed You d think Melville was describing the life of a group of chivalrous knights they were whalers not heroes This book is awful in every sense of the word It has achieved literary fame, but I still personally hate it I found everything about it completely, and utterly, detestable Never again will I go within five feet of anything written by Herman Melville I think a part of me died whilst reading this book it was just that disagreeable to me.

  7. 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 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 aquatic, rascally Norma Rae out of an elephantine albino whale Reasonably enough, Moby Dick hereafter M.D., 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, M.D 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, M.D 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 equation 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 Queequeg 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 Queequeg 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 Queequeg, 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 Queequeg find employment on the whaler Pequod, helmed by none other than the killjoy Captain Ahab himself he of prosthetic whalebone leg, abbreviated schlong, and legendary grudge holding So the Pequod 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 M.D., 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 M.D s groundbreaking role in the nascent Whale Power movement Eat tailfin, honkies

  8. says:


  9. says:

    Y si Ahab abandona de s bito la b squeda Es probable que la pierna inexistente le duela para toda la vida Moby Dick fue, es y ser mi libro preferido de toda la vida Esta es en realidad la tercera vez que lo leo dado que la magia que se desprende de sus p ginas me hechiza sin soltarme M s all de que en la cima de mis escritores preferidos se yergue solitariamente y sin competencia mi admirad simo Franz Kafka y que le sigue muy de cerca Fi dor Dostoievski, quien me ense o muchas maneras de ver la inmensidad de la vida, es Herman Melville tambi n uno de mis autores predilectos y siempre recurro a sus libros para leerlos constantemente Es mi manera de sostener mis horizontes literarios en un est ndar alto.Este gran autor fue parte fundamental del incipiente despegue literario de los Estados Unidos a principios del siglo XIX junto con Nathaniel Hawthorne o Edgar Allan Poe, por nombrar algunos, y aunque ya ten a varios libros publicados en su haber como Taip , Om , Mardi o Redburn , todos ellos muestra fiel de su pasado como tripulante de barcos balleneros en los que hasta lleg a convivir entre can bales , es a partir de este libro en el que adquiere el desarrollo total de sus facultades narrativas para plasmarlas en un libro pico, nico e inolvidable Cuando termin de escribirlo, dentro de una de las tantas cartas que le escrib a a su fiel amigo Hawthorne a quien le dedica Moby Dick , le expresa He escrito un libro perverso, pero yo me siento tan inocente como un corderito. Evidentemente, Melville sab a que hab a tocado la cuerda justa de su genialidad y que s lo era cuesti n de tiempo para que su libro fuera recordado por siempre.Tambi n sostuvo una idea durante el proceso de escritura de Moby Dick en la que afirmaba que Para escribir un libro de proporciones importantes hay que elegir un tema de proporciones importantes y no se equivoc Lo que comenz como el esbozo de una novela corta fue transform ndose en un volumen poderoso y extenso Se le fue de las manos hasta transformarse en una mole equivalente a la Ballena Blanca que surca los mares en los que el Pequod de Ahab la persigue.En cierta forma, este libro es de esos que yo denomino universales , puesto que son tantos los temas que trata acerca de todo aquello lo que nos define como seres humanos y estas caracter sticas nos son mostradas desde mil ngulos distintos Moby Dick es una novela polif nica y con esto me refiero a ese estilo de novelas que invent el gran Fi dor Dostoievski en donde cada personaje funciona como un ente independiente con su voz y sus ideas dentro de la novela, pero que a la vez, unido a los dem s hacen funcionar el argumento de la novela de manera conjunta mientras el autor por momentos los deja actuar, qued ndose en un costado.Como toda novela de esta naturaleza genera adhesiones y rechazo en el lector Ya en su momento 1851 cuando fue publicada, Moby Dick naufrag en el olvido casi instant neamente empujando a Melville a un auto exilio del que nunca se recuperar a Al a o siguiente publicar a Pierre, o las ambig edades , que hace fiel eco de su nombre por lo inclasificable y de manera post mortem se publica Billy Budd, marinero , esta s muy bien recibida por la cr tica Para ese entonces, Melville, que pr cticamente estaba fuera de la literatura, se dedic a escribir poes a mientras trabajaba como un siempre empleado administrativo casi bartlebiano en la Aduana de Nueva York.Si uno eliminara los cap tulos a los que podr amos llamar descartables , nos quedar amos con una novela de menos de trescientas p ginas en vez del ladrillo de m s de setecientas treinta que uno tiene que leer Melville se toma gran parte del libro para contarnos acerca de todo lo que rodea al mundo de los barcos balleneros y es esto lo que hace que muchos lectores lo abandonen Los cap tulos como Cetalog a , en donde Melville hace un detalle de todas las ballenas que exist an en esa poca, parecen interminables como tambi n en, De las ballenas pintadas , La ballena como plato , La cabeza de cachalote estudio comparativo , El gran tonel de Heidelberg , Cisternas y baldes , La cabeza del cachalote estudio comparativo , que son algunos que enumero, aunque estimo que deben ser m s de veinte En cierto modo es una l stima, dado que la historia narrada es maravillosa y estos apartados distraen o aburren al lector que no est al tanto de la obra melviana.Yendo precisamente al libro, lo m s importante de l son sus personajes, y a mi modo de ver, junto con Moby Dick es fundamentalmente Ahab el motor de la historia Es el personaje m s logrado de Herman Melville e iguala a otros grandes de la historia literaria Ahab, es un personaje forjado por Melville con todo el andamiaje tr gico de Shakespeare y la profundizaci n psicol gica de Dostoievski De hecho es que fuera de Dostoievski el personaje m s dostoievskiano de los que me he encontrado.De todos modos, el nombre de Ahab ha sido escrito en la literatura con letras de oro Este poderoso personaje tarda bastante en aparecer en la novela m s precisamente en el cap tulo 28 , para mostrarse con intermitencias en la mitad del libro y hacerse omnipresente durante los cap tulos finales en donde se desata la tragedia, dado que en realidad Moby Dick es una novela de fuertes connotaciones tr gicas pero dotadas de muchas capas en las que Melville inteligentemente trabaj para darle un concepto de obra total.Su constante inclusi n de alegor as y simbolismos son incontables y lo m s curioso es que los simbolismos son generados en forma inconsciente por el lector Cuando Ahab descarga con profunda circunspecci n filos fica sus soliloquios existencialistas lo que hace es generar un clima de negros presagios y esperanzas funestas, puesto que ntimamente sabe que si bien Dios dispone las cosas, es el Destino el que sellar su suerte.Dos de los cap tulos m s elevados y filos ficos del libro son un mon logo existencialista maravilloso de Ahab en el cap tulo La sinfon a El otro es La blancura de la ballena , el m s metaf sico de todo el libro, en el que Melville nos ofrece estudio profundo sobre la simbolog a del color blanco.As como Ahab es una de las piezas fundamentales del libro, Ismael, quien es el narrador casi omnisciente, es el que llevar la batuta y el ritmo de la narraci n l abre la historia con esperanza y l la concluye con melancol a y nostalgia y en el medio, desfilan otros tantos personajes maravillosos como los son su fiel amigo Queequeg, ese salvaje tatuado y experto arponero que se transformar en su hermano del alma as tambi n como los tres oficiales principales, el primero Starbuck de quien la gran cadena internacional de caf s fundada en Washington toma su nombre agreg ndose una s , quien es el que m s enfrenta a Ahab, Stubb con su inseparable pipa y Flask, quien tiene toda la pinta de no estar en su sano juicio.Junto con Queequeg conoceremos a los otros dos famosos arponeros del Pequod, Tasthego, un indio de complexi n colosal y Dagoo, un negro enorme dispuesto a enfrentarse a todo y a todos Tambi n en un uno de los cap tulos iniciales, antes de que Ismael se embarque, nos encontraremos con el Padre Mapple, quien da su serm n desde un p lpito transformado en la quilla de un barco y como no puede ser de otra manera, nos hablar del nico personaje b blico que tiene relaci n directa con una ballena, Jon s, del que adem s Melville utilizar un cap tulo para que su par bola sea considerada hist ricamente, o sea que el autor intenta demostrar cu l fue el periplo real de Jon s a partir de su huida.Volviendo al padre Mapple y a Ahab, un dato muy interesante es ver la m s famosa pel cula basada en el libro, dirigida por John Houston en 1954 y para la que el gran autor norteamericano Ray Bradbury escribi el gui n, nos encontraremos con el afamado Orson Wells haciendo el papel del sacerdote.La pel cula cuenta con el mejor Ahab f lmico de toda la historia, me refiero a Gregory Peck con su potente voz y su traje de cu quero Es imposible no asociar esa voz a la del viejo trueno de la novela cuando uno la lee Peck actuar nuevamente en una serie de Moby Dick de 1998 como el Padre Mapple y en donde el actor Patrick Stewart encarna el papel de Ahab.Para no irnos por las ramas, no quiero dejar de mencionar a un extra o y misterioso personaje que se llama Fedallah, un parsi fantasmal que aparece de la nada y que oficia de socio inseparable de Ahab o del negrito Pippen, Pip , el grumete del Pequod que aporta la cuota de frescura e inocencia a tanta tragedia.En muchos cap tulos del libro son constantes las referencias de Melville a personajes b blicos y a la propia Biblia en s Por ejemplo en un contrapunto entre Peleg y Bildad, quienes son los propietarios del Pequod con Ismael le hacen saber a este que Ahab fue un rey b blico muy poderoso.Pero tambi n muy cruel, a punto tal que cuando fue asesinado, los perros no lamieron su sangre Pareciera que este rey influye sobre el capit n Ahab quien por momentos es desp tico, cruel y c nico respondiendo a su obsesi n monoman aca la de cazar y dar muerte a Moby Dick, la temible Ballena Blanca que le arranc una de sus piernas.Para la creaci n de este cachalote asesino, Herman Melville se inspira en suceso real en el que un cachalote tambi n albino hunde al Essex en 1820, frente a las islas de Mocha en Chile Melville fantase con el nombre de Mocha Dick para su libro luego de una cruenta persecuci n.Moby Dick que es la representaci n del mal en esta novela es el partenaire perfecto para Ahab, a quien le arranc la pierna para disparar todo el odio y rencor ilimitado de este capit n que recorrer el mundo con el objetivo de la venganza que enceguece sus d as a bordo del Pequod, cuyo objetivo era la de cazar ballenas para comercializar su esperma, o sea el aceite que se aloja en la cabeza del cachalote y que era el medio para iluminar las casas del siglo XIX, aunque tambi n son muchos los productos que se extra an de las ballenas.De este modo el Pequod zarpar de la ballenera isla de Nantucket en la cual hoy se emplaza un museo ballenero , siguiendo hacia las Islas Azores, las Islas Canarias, Cabo Verde, el R o de la Plata, el Cabo de Buena Esperanza, el Mar meridional de China, la zona ballenera de Jap n, para encontrar su destino final en los Mares del Sur, luego de tres d as de intensa caza a Moby Dick en donde la novela alcanza su punto m s lgido y fatal Moby Dick, o la ballena , esta novela imponente, eterna, inabarcable, enorme, la que Faulkner quiso escribir y nunca pudo, que se desarrolla durante tres tercios del libro a bordo de un barco, que posee la m s bella y rica narrativa que Herman Melville pudo sacar de sus entra as es hoy una recompensa a este autor que cuando la public pas inadvertidamente para ser re descubierta reci n 73 a os despu s de su publicaci n, quedar para siempre entre los mejores cl sicos de la historia.Herman Melville, que escribi casi siempre libros sobre historias de barcos, como sus colegas Robert Louis Stevenson y Joseph Conrad tiene hoy el sitial que se merece en la historia de la literatura.Dijo una vez Jorge Luis Borges sobre Moby Dick En el invierno de 1851, Melville public Moby Dick, la novela infinita que ha determinado su gloria P gina por p gina, el relato se agranda hasta usurpar el tama o del cosmos al principio el lector puede suponer que su tema es la vida miserable de los arponeros de ballenas luego el tema es la locura del capit n Ahab, vido de acosar y destruir la ballena blanca luego, que la Ballena y Ahab y la persecuci n que fatiga los oc anos del planeta son s mbolos del Universo.Supo reconocer su gran amigo Nathaniel Hawthorne Es una obra pica digna de Homero Ser una epopeya americana Me quedo con esta ltima frase Creo que resume notablemente lo que Herman Melville y Moby Dick significan para la literatura mundial La profec a de Hawthorne se hizo realidad y es por todo ello que siempre ser mi libro preferido.

  10. says:

    I was that precocious brat who first read the whale esque 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 Jacques Cousteau phase, and this book had a picture of a whale on the cover 2 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 kids , and that made my little but bloated ego very happy So, in retrospect, were War and Peace and Le P re Goriot and The Great Gatsby In retrospect, there may have been an underlying pattern behind my childhood reading choices From what I remember, I read this book as a sort of encyclopedia, a bunch of short articles about whaling and whale taxonomy and many ways to skin a whale and occasional interruptions from little bits of what as I now see it was the plot It was confusing and yet informative like life itself is to nine year olds.What do I think about it now, having aged a couple of decades Well, now I bow my head to the brilliance of it, the unexpectedly beautiful language, the captivating and apt metaphors, the strangely progressive for its time views, the occasional wistfulness interrupted by cheek The first third of it left me spellbound, flying through the pages, eager for Just look at this bit, this unbelievable prose that almost makes me weep yes, I m a dork who can get weepy over literature I blame it on my literature teacher mother So there Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people s hats off then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can This is my substitute for pistol and ball With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword I quietly take to the ship Bits like this is what made me stay up at night, pouring over the pages I could finally see what my nine year old past self did not care about and appropriately so, in the light of literal mindedness and straightforwardness that children possess Melville s constant, persistent comparison of whaling to life itself, using bits and pieces of whaling beliefs and rituals to illuminate the dark nooks and crannies of human souls, to show that deep down inside, regardless of our differences, we all run on the same desires and motives and undercurrents of spirit Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form The elusive White Whale is what we are all chasing, in one form or another, different for all of us, different in how we see it and approach it and deal with it It s what we all pursue the difference is how Melville gives us one of the extremes, the views of a single minded fanatic, of one who puts everything aside, sacrifices everything and everyone else for the sake of a dream, of a desire, of a goal the person who is capable of leading others unified in his focused, narrow, overwhelmingly alluring vision We can call Ahab a madman We can also call him a great leader, a visionary of sorts had he only used the charisma and the drive and the single minded obsession to reach a goal less absurd, less suicidal less selfish Had he with this monomaniac single mindedness led a crusade for something we think is worthwhile, would we still call him a madman, or would we wordlessly admire his never altering determination Isn t the true tragedy here in Ahab focusing his will on destruction and blind revenge, leading those he s responsible for to destruction in the name of folly and pride Is that where the madness lies For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men Moby Dick, the elusive and largely symbolic whale until, that is, the last haunting three chapters where the chased id e fixe becomes terrifyingly real and refuses to humor Ahab s life goal is a force of nature so beautiful, so majestic and breathtaking, so lovingly described by Melville over pages and pages even though, in all honesty, he breaks up the fascination but trying, unsuccessfully, to persuade the reader that the amazing whale is just a fish Really, the idea of a mere human considering it his right, his goal to stand up to the majestic nature force, armed with a destructive deadly weapon, and bring it to the end after a long chase in the ultimate gesture of triumph that idea is chilling in its unremarkability Humans taming and conquering nature, bending it to our will and desires, the world being our oyster all that stuff It is not new It is what helped drive the industrial expansion of the modern society It is what makes us feel that we are masters of our world, that our planet is ours to do whatever we, humans, please But Moby Dick, finally abandoning his run from Ahab and standing up to him with such brutal ease is a reminder of the folly of such thinking and the reminder that there are forces we need to reckon with, no matter how full of ourselves we may get Why only three stars, you ask, when clearly I appreciate the greatness of the classic Because the metaphors and parallels and meandering narration at times would get to be too much, because I quite often found my mind and attention easily wandering away in the last two thirds of the book, needing a gargantuan effort to refocus This what took of a star and a half, resulting in 3.5 sea stars grudgingly but yet willingly given to this classic of American Romanticism 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 On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last It was the devious cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan

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