Moby Dick Monday: February 8, 2010 (Week 13)

Welcome to Moby Dick Monday! This is where we read four pages a day and then post about what we’ve read. Consider it an adventure of sorts!

My Story Re-Cap:

Another short recap for the week. This one takes me through chapter 109.

I left off at chapter 65 last week so as you can see, I covered over 40 chapters but throughout all of these chapters, we are given yet another tutorial on the whale and its anatomy. Much time is spent on the precious spermaceti, which is the whale oil that is processed in such a way to produce a waxy substance that is used in many different ways.

Since whale oil is extracted form the sperm whale’s head, we are treated to a very involved description of the extraction process. I say ‘treated’ only because I found this portion of the tale fascinating. The crew straps the whale head to the side of the ship and then carves a whole into it to begin the extraction process. This oil is stored in barrels and to give you an idea on how much can be extracted…one large whale can produce as much as three tons of spermaceti.This oil is VERY valuable.

It is also within these chapters that a main member of the crew falls ill. He is overcome with fever and when he realizes that his time is limited, he plans out his burial. This particular member of the crew does not want to be tossed overboard, only to sink to the bottom of the black sea. Instead, he wants to be placed into a canoe and set to float across the ocean. The crew sees that his wishes are carried out.

Additionally, the carpenter carves a new ivory leg for Ahab after his ‘leg’ becomes compromised and begins to splinter. Ahab’s leg is carved out of whale bone (how fitting) and much of the chapter is spent discussing the differences of carving bone rather than wood. You see, when bone is filed it produces a very dusty, chalky cloud. It lines the passages of your nasal cavity and gets into your airways. It’s appropriate that Ahab, a man on a quest to find his white whale, literally lives and breathes whale…even if it’s in the form of bone dust.

My Rambling Thoughts:

I am attempting to pick-up the reading pace a bit so it would be wonderful if I could finish out this book this week. Although I am enjoying the technical aspect of the book, I am missing PLOT and character interaction.

Reading Along With Me:

Jill of RhapsodyinBooks
Dar of Peeking Between the Pages
Eva of A Striped Armchair (completed!)
Wisteria from Bookworm’s Dinner
Gavin from Page247
Claire from kiss a cloud
Sandra from Fresh Ink Books

Past Moby Dick Posts:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

Week 9
Week 10
Week 11

Week 12

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7 Responses

  1. I was very surprised to read how they get the spermaceti out. Although when you think about it, how else would they do it while in the middle of the ocean? But what an arduous, dangerous process. You really do learn a lot from this book!

    Today in my post I go up to the last 3 chapters, and will finish next week!

  2. You have done so well keeping up with this book. Sadly, I faltered big time. I still hope to read it but I don’t think now was the time to be able to concentrate on it and it’s not really a book you can breeze through.

  3. I can’t believe you are getting fascinated by these whale facts. Melville is getting to you!

  4. Ismael does go on and on and on, doesn’t he. Have I thanked you for organizing this? I had no idea it would be so much fun (except for the gory parts)!

    • Thank YOU! It’s not an easy read and since it lacks dialogue and plot there aren’t many readers that can stay with it. I am really glad that you are enjoying it.

  5. I can totally relate to missing plot and action in a book (as I’m reading Ulysses right now). My husband wanted to read ahead of me while on a business trip this week. He planned to read on the flights and thought he could whip through about 400 pages. He only got through 100 because he kept falling asleep. He said he got to one section where it made about as much sense as the cat food commercial song (Meow, meow, meow, meow, etc.). I can’t wait till I get to that part! ;)

  6. [...] Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 [...]

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