Tag Archives: Moby Dick

Moby Dick Monday: January 18, 2010 (Week 10)

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:

A lot took place in this week’s reading but it’s hard to summarize. Melville takes it upon himself to educate us a bit. We learn all about a “Gam” which is basically:

A social visit or friendly interchange, especially between whalers or seafarers.

The description of such a visit, confirms to me that whalers are a peculiar sort. Melville talks a bit about how it’s done, how the Captains sort of hang back and allow the crew to mingle a bit, yet that they each stay loyal and firmly rooted to their own ship. The mention of this, leads me to believe that although whalers can be social creatures, they tend to be a cautious group when it comes to strangers. Probably a good thing.

The next chapter (54) happens to be the longest chapter I’ve read so far. It was the longest, and the most tedious to read. Chapter 54 discusses in great length the Town Ho’ story. The Town Ho was a homeward-bound Nantucket whale ship. Radney, the mate, ordered a fellow by the name of Steelkilt to swab the deck. This proved to be a great insult to Steelkilt as a pig had run loose and he felt it beneath him to be ordered to do such a menial task. Steelkilt, feeling bold, refused to do it and Radney hauled off and hit him with a hammer! A fight ensued.

Steelkilt rallies some of the other men and takes over the deck. Refusing the Captain’s orders to get to work he expects a flogging, so he and the other men lock themselves down below. His plans change when a couple of the men tie him up and turn him over to the Captain. He gets his flogging from Radney, of all people so he decides to murder Radney. This is a secret that he keeps to himself, but in the end he is distracted by the appearance of Moby Dick himself and in a moment of fierceness, Moby Dick grabs Radney and takes him to his death.

The last chapter (55) discusses the monstrous depictions of whales. Although interesting, it would have been much more so had the chapter included photos.

My Rambling Thoughts:

The story of the Town-Ho was very entertaining, but so, so long! I had a really hard time getting through it. It required all of my attention and with the kids running about, I found it impossible to concentrate so I resorted to an audio re-telling, to get it firmly planted in my brain. I find with this book, that you use all manners of tools to get you through it. Be it audio, or visual.

For the others reading along with me, do you have a hard time following along with the story? Have you had to resort to other formats to help you through the reading?

Reading Along With Me:

Jill of RhapsodyinBooks
Dar of Peeking Between the Pages
Eva of A Striped Armchair
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.

Moby Dick Monday: January 11, 2010 (Week 9)

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:

This week’s reading took me through Chapter 52. Ahab is beginning to wonder how he’ll keep the crew motivated through such a long voyage. He realizes, that without a reward of some kind, the crew could turn on him and decide not to obey his commands at all. This thought disturbs him, but he tucks it away to think about later.

While Ishmael and Queequeg spend a lazy afternoon working on maps, Tashtego calls from above with a “There she blows!” The crew snaps to attention, only to be startled by the appearance of five strangers. These strangers, or “phantoms” as Ishmael takes to calling them, is headed up by someone named Fedallah. The crew, including these five strangers, lowers the boats and sets out after Moby Dick. However, their chase proves fruitless and they return to the ship.

A second sighting a few days later has them all in the water again, but this time, Ishmael’s boat capsizes and he fights the sea to get back on board. After a struggle, Ishmael returns to the ship and asks the others if being thrown into the ocean like this and nearly losing your life is something that he should expect regularly. After getting confirmation of this, he decides that the additional strangers, probably couldn’t hurt as there is power in numbers.

My Rambling Thoughts:

At 256 pages in, Ahab is still a mystery, but I’m learning more about him as each week passes. He is a brooding type. I suspect, highly intelligent too but that has not been told to us in so many words. He quietly observes the deck, his crew and the ocean surrounding them. His quest to find Moby Dick is of course personal, but I am guessing there’s even more to that story than we’ve been told thus far. I’m enjoying Ishmael’s slow realization of what he’s gotten himself into.

I’m glad that these chapters are short. If they were longer, I think the story would be lost in the words. Melville takes such care to describe things a certain way, but the sentences are a bit choppy. This is one of those books where I need complete silence in order to read it. The background noise of the TV or kids forces me to re-read chapters at a time. It really requires quite a bit of focus. However, I am almost at the halfway mark and that’s quite an accomplishment! I’ve never been able to get this far before. I believe I’m going to make it through this.

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
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.