Monday, July 5, 2010
Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #3
Pages read this week- 194-299
Chapters read this week-41-58
I am officially half way done with Moby Dick! Yahoo! This makes me very happy. The pages I read last week were very enjoyable and I had no trouble finishing 100 pages by Friday. In fact I wanted to keep reading.
The storytelling part of the book is picking up. This section of my reading began with the only chapter in the book titled Moby Dick. Ishmael begins to tell stories and legends about the Spermaceti whale and the rumors and fables associated to Moby's character.
This is the first time the Pequod's crew lowers their boats to give chase to a whale. Ishmael barely survives and is wondering if this happens all the time. The crew responds that yes, being a whaler means you are risking your life. So Ishmael writes a rough draft of his will.
I wonder if the people around the world using the whale oil, wearing whale bone corsets, and burning whale candles knew the horrors and dangers that whaling men incur for their daily luxuries. This could be one reason why Melville chose to write his book and may be one of the reasons why the book didn't sell at the time it was published. People needed oil to survive but wanted to remain ignorant of how it was obtained.
I am learning a lot from reading this book. There are so many religious and historical references and I wish I had the time to look them all up. I would love to see an edition of this book that explains in detail what they mean because in some cases I feel as if I am missing some important meaning. The edition would probably end up being over 1000 pages. Pictures would be cool too. Ishmael explains some of the monstrous pictures and more accurate artwork depicting the whale hunt, I would love to have that in the book too.
One thing I have noticed about Melville's writing is that each chapter ends with an excellent quote. I can't wait to read the last sentence of every chapter. This last sentence is usually full of depth and meaning. Here are a couple:
"For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and the place;but while yet all arush to encounter the whale, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill." (Page 203, Chapter 41)
"God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates." (Page 220, Chapter 44)
I am continuing my intellectual voyage on the Pequod. Pages to be read this week (300-400).
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers who are sailing the intellectual high seas with me. Book Snob Wannabe and Rachel at 1001 books.