Monday, July 19, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #5

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #5

Pages read: 402-499
Chapters read: 84-104

On this whaling voyage Ishmael has taught the reader every thing we need to know about the Sperm whale, from his spout to his tail. He describes each part of the whale in finite detail and I get the feeling he is proud to hunt and witness such amazing creatures.

He talks about the pods of the Sperm whale and we learn from Ishmael that the whales travel in all male groups, all female groups and the old male whales travel alone. I found this chapter interesting as well as when he witnesses the mother whales with their young.

He then details the ship and the process of collecting the blubber to make the oil. He goes through each part of the ship like he is the reader's tour guide and explains how the oil is melted down in try-pots, where the barrels are stored and how the ship is cleaned. How the process is continually repeated when a new whale is captured.

Ahab continues to search for Moby Dick and rarely makes appearances in the book. He appears only to inquire other ship captains if they have seen the great white whale known as Moby Dick. He does meet another captain who had lost his arm and refuses to hunt for Moby Dick as he prefers to keep his one arm intact. So Captain Ahab continues his mad search for the Great White Whale.

Some of my favorite quotes this week:

"Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye." page 409

"Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic." page 411

"Book!, you lie there; the fact is you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts." page 473

There is 125 pages left in my volume of Moby Dick, I will savor the last week of my reading experience in the woods of Wisconsin. Please check out the other blogs, Book Snob Wannabe and Rachel at 1001 Books participating in this journey. Have a great reading week.


  1. a funny thing: I have the Chick-Fil-A calendar which this year is entirely literary spoofs. And this month's is Moby Dick! aka Moody Dick written by Herman Mooville. The picture of a giant white cow leaping out of the water next to a small boat where they try to baste it with BBQ sauce is remarkably like the reading challenge button image! It's very funny.

    I've been enjoying your updates though as this is a clasic I've never read and don't want to... but I feel as if it's taunting me.