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Moby Dick; or The Whale

N 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 kn. 896 Moby Dick The Whale Herman MelvilleMoby Dick or The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance Sailor Ishmael tells the story of the obsessive uest of Ahab captain of the whaler Peuod for revenge on Moby Dick the white whale that on the previous whaling voyage bit off Ahab s leg at the knee The novel was a commercial failure and out of print at the time of the author s death in 1891 but during the 20th century its reputation as a Great American Novel was established William Faulkner confessed he wished he had written it himself and D H Lawrence called it one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world and the greatest book of the sea ever written Call me Ishmael is among world literature s most famous opening sentences 2002 776 422 324 240 209 200 183 1335 168 157 133 120 120 113 113 111 80 72 59 48 32 28 23061399

REVIEW Moby Dick; or The Whale

Est 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 religio. 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 uite 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 yearsIt is just so agonising to read This is uite 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

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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 in 1891 Called the great. LISA Dad you can t take revenge on an animal That s the whole point of Moby DickHOMER 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 aheadThere 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 thingsPerhapsIs it a colossal boreDecidedly 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 uestion 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 exuisitely 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 ueeueg 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 uit 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 uite a sad turn of events What did I learn Not too much Moby Dick is about a miluetoast named Ishmael who sets out on a whaling ship called the Peuod 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 suid or an eel or a berserk seagull to eat him and eat him uickly but painfully so the book will end The Peuod 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 uint 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 uick 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 grandilouent 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 solilouies and even at certain points stage directions It is also a primer on whaling in case you wanted to learn The Peuod 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 Peuod s waist like the giant Holofernes s from the girdle of JudithMaybe 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 ueeueg 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 Peuod ueeueg 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 boycourt 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 uit 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 uite 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 gypI 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 techniue is effective or not or whether Melville has convinced you that it s effective is an open uestion Well not to me I think I ve answered the uestion 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

About the Author: Herman Melville

There is than one author with this nameHerman Melville was an American novelist short story writer essayist and poet His first two books gained much attention though they were not bestsellers and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten but his longest novel Moby Dick — largely considered a failure d

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 DickHOMER 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 aheadTh

  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

  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 atte

  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 MehIt's not that I don't get that there's a TON of complexity

  5. says:

    i triedBoth 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 lin

  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 piec

  7. says:

    896 Moby Dick The Whale Herman MelvilleMoby Dick; or The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance Sailor Ishmael tells the story of the obsessive uest of Ahab captain of the whaler Peuod for revenge on Moby Dick the white whale that on the previous whaling

  8. 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 h

  9. says:

    I was that precocious brat who first read the whale esue 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 Jacues Cousteau phase and this book had a picture of

  10. says:

    So I just finished it a couple of days ago and pretty much everything else pales in comparison About three hundred pages in it was already in my top ten favorite novels of all time and it didn't disappoint muchas I continued reading I actually deliberately drew out getting to the ending so I could savor the last few hun

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