Tag Archives: Moby Dick Monday

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

Moby Dick Monday: February 1, 2010 (Week 12)

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:

Today’s recap is short and sweet and takes me through chapter 76.

In this week’s reading, the crew catches a whale. Although there is great detail in everything Melville shares, the detail of the catch itself was not as fleshed out, as the carving of the whale afterward. It’s clear to me, that the carving of such a massive animal is a very delicate procedure. Just the nature of its size presents a problem. As it’s strung up, it has to be strung up in such a way as to not cause the ship to go under.

Cutting into the wrong section could cause death and it is within these chapters that the massive whale head comes crashing down on Tashtego, sending him to the bottom of the ocean. As the crew watches in horror, Queequeg dives in after him. Both are down for a very long time. After several agonizing minutes, Queequeg comes up with Tashtego. It is explained afterward that Queequeg tunneled through the whale’s head and pulled Tashtego through it. Melville equates this act to childbirth, which I found quite interesting.

My Rambling Thoughts:

The carving of the whale is a messy process but Melville’s account of it is so clinical in nature that it doesn’t seem overly graphic. However, I did find myself re-reading certain passages. Mostly because I wanted to get a clear picture of what was going on in my mind.

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

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.