Monday, July 26, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #6

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #6

Pages read 500-625
Chapters read 105-135

I have finished reading Moby Dick! Yahoooooo! I have conquered Moby Dick and have survived the ordeal and I am so happy. I consider this a great accomplishment and my copy of Moby Dick will reside on my bookshelf as a trophy of achievement.

Melville is an absolute genius! I learned so much from this book and am so glad I undertook the difficult talk of reading it. It was worth it. The ending of Moby Dick was so good, so philosophical, so entertaining that I will definitely have to reread it. The last four chapters that is.

The book culminates in the last three chapters with the sighting of Moby Dick and the Pequod's subsequent demise. Starbuck's character made me cry with hope and denial as I so wanted him to see his wife and child and for the boat to give up the perilous fight. I loved the section about Queegueg's coffin and was overjoyed that he didn't need to use it and then the hilarious transition of the coffin being used as the ships life buoy. Genius, I say!

I bookmarked 6 quotes in the last 125 pages, more than any other section in the book.
I feel I must share them as they provoked much thought while I was reading. The last three quotes all come from The Symphony chapter.

"Well, well; I heard Ahab mutter, 'Here some one thrusts these cards into these old hands of mine; swears that I must play them, and no other.' And damn me, Ahab, but thou actest right; live in the game, and die in it!" The last sentence on page 545.

"Though but a point at best; whencesoe'er I came; whencesoe'er I go; yet while I earthly live, the queenly personality lives in me, and feels her royal rights. But war is pain, and hate is woe. Come in thy lowest form of love, and I will kneel and kiss thee; but at thy highest, come as mere supernal power; and though thou launchest navies of full-freighted worlds, there's that in here that still remains indifferent, Oh, thou clear spirit, of thy fire thou madest me, and like a true child of fire, I breathe it back to thee." Page 551

"Alike, joy and sorrow, hope and fear, seemed ground to finest dust, and powdered, for the time, in the clamped mortar of Ahab's iron soul." Page 582

"Tied up and twisted; gnarled and knotted with wrinkles; haggardly firm and unyielding; his eyes glowing like coals, that still glow in the ashes of ruin; untottering Ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl's forehead of heaven." Page 589

""From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop." Page 590

"But if the great sun move not of himself; but as an errand boy of heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power, how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I." Page 592

Moby Dick is a religious book, a time travel book though history, a tribute to whalers and the whaling life, a memoir of a man's life thus changed by the whales he hunts. It is a complex novel worthy of study.

I found this bumper sticker at
I may just have to buy it.

Thanks so Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe for reading this book with me. Thanks also to my friend Trudy for suggesting the blog readalong. I hope you all are relieved and happy you read it. To those who haven't read it yet, I challenge you to read it!!


  1. I SO HAPPY that you loved it. I wish more people would brave it- it isn't as hard as it's reputation makes it out to be. Besides, it's so worth the effort!

  2. I really hate that I did not complete it in time, but I will have it completed by 8/12/10 because school will be starting. This has truly been a challenging read for me! I cannot wait until I can put the bumper sticker on my page. Congrats on finishing the book!!! Question: If you known what you know now, would you read the book?