Moby Dick Monday: December 7, 2008 (Week 4)

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:

Ishmael and Queequeg settle their Inn bill, get a wheelbarrow for their belongings and board the “Moss,” a schooner to Nantucket. While aboard, some poor schmuck pokes fun at Queequeg so Q picks him up and throws him down with a crash. The Captain of the Moss confronts Queequeg, telling him that he cannot act in this manner when all hell breaks loose. Something snaps and sends the poor schmuck overboard. The crew tries to correct the situation but it’s Queequeg that steps in and saves the day. He brings everything under control AND saves the poor schmuck from drowning. Ishmael is in awe of the savage Queequeg.

Once in Nantucket, Ishmael and Queequeg set off to find Mr. Hussey. Supposedly he is the cousin of their previous landlord and owns an Inn that is well-known for its chowder. Upon arrival, they quickly learn that Mr. Hussey is not home but Mrs. Hussey sets them up with the best chowder ever (this part made me very hungry), and then arranges for a room. She is a peculiar though and demands that Queequeg turn over his harpoon before bedding down for the night. Apparently, sailors have committed suicide with harpoons such as his so in order to save the Inn from just such a reputation, she demands that he hand it over which of course he does.

After consulting his idol Yojo, Queequeg asks Ishmael to choose their sailing vessel. Ishmael is not comfortable with the idea, but in order to appease Q and Yojo, he goes along with it. After some research, he comes upon three ships: the Devil-Dam, the Tit-Bit and the Peqoud. After visiting each, he decides that the Pequod is the ship for them. It’s a “cannibal of a craft” and done in the old school way. He boards and meets Captain Peleg, who is really part-owner of the vessel. Captain Peleg questions Ishmael’s intent and has considerable doubts about his experience. However, after a brief conversation he decides to have him meet Captain Bildad, the other owner of the ship.

Captain Bildad and Peleg get into an argument over what Ismael’s lay will be. Meaning, where he’ll fall when the money is divided amongst all of the shareholders. Ishmael imagines falling somewhere around 277 but Bildad argues that he should have the 777th lay as there are so many widows and young children that come before him. In the end, Ishmael is placed right around the 300th lay. It is at this time that Captain Ahab is mentioned. Ishmael is told about Ahab and how his leg was lost to a whale. It occurs to Ishmael that he should probably meet Captain Ahab before accepting this position but Captain Peleg explains that Ahab is not readily available on land. That he is moody and sick, but not sick. That he has a wife and child and that he is an agreeable sort and tells Ishmael not to worry. Ishmael arranges for Queequeg to join him, and given Q’s whaling experience, Peleg is happy to have him.

Ishmael returns to the Inn to tell Queequeg the news but finds the door to the room locked. When Ishmael left for the day, he left Queequeg behind for Ramadan and didn’t think much of it. However, now that the door is locked and Q is not responding to his calls, Ishmael goes into a panic. He finds Mrs. Hussey and tells her that he must break down the door! That Queequeg has had a stroke or worse! In the midst of this chaos, Mrs. Hussey realizes that Queequeg’s harpoon is missing from the closet and worries that another suicide has taken place. They run to the room together and Ishmael breaks down the door to find Queequeg, in a sitting position with his Yojo idol upon his head. Apparently he has been sitting like this all day long. Ishmael sends Mrs. Hussey away and decides to wait for Q to come out of his trance. After what seems like forever, Q rises, places his forehead against Ishmael’s and all is well again.

They head off for the ship.

My Rambling Thoughts:

Reading this in small chunks is really the way to go. There are small quips here and there that Melville tosses in that you would not normally pay attention to, if not for the short reading schedule. The ship terminology loses me every time, and I suspect that my frustration will increase once they actually board the ship. Overall, the pace of this week’s reading was much better than last week and I am beginning to get into the story now.

Reading Along With Me:

Jill/Softdrink of Fizzy Thoughts
Jill of RhapsodyinBooks
Dar of Peeking Between the Pages
Eva of A Striped Armchair
Wisteria from Bookworm’s Dinner
Gavin from Page247 (will join us in mid to late December)
Claire from kiss a cloud (will join us in 2010)

For those that are participating, share your post links in comments. What do you think so far? Oh, and if anyone wants to join us just leave me a message below.

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12 thoughts on “Moby Dick Monday: December 7, 2008 (Week 4)”

  1. I loved the bad cop-good cop thing going on with Bildad and Peleg. On the CD, the narrator gives them each a very different voice, and yet speeds through their dialog – it’s like listening to a cast performing!

    1. That’s funny because I don’t picture Bildad and Peleg doing anything quickly… seemed like a like of pondering was going on but it’s told from Ish’s point of view so perhaps he was the one doing the pondering.

  2. I suspect that this is probably the way to go with Melville and this book. I wish that I could be reading along with you. Unfortunately thing were to crazy for me to start with you at the beginning.

  3. Awesome recap Ti. I am not with you but I have loved my built in dictionary on the Kindle. I have used it with Moby Dick and it has been helpful. Great that it sounds like you’ve got your groove going with the book now.

  4. Reading this in small chunks really does sound like the way to go. Keeps you from feeling like skimming over since you know you don’t have that much to read in any given day. I’m still not sold on the book, tho!

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