MOBY DICK AND LENT
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Moby Dick by Herman Melville, 1851
This is my third and best reading of the book. I chose to read slowly and read every word not skipping parts I found boring. I noticed this time how funny and amusing Melville is. The scene of Ahab and Queequeg meeting and sleeping in the same bed is quite funny. There are remarks and little satires through out the book that one misses unless reading slowly and deliberately.
Moby Dick, the whale, is truly a sign of evil and Ahab the captain is truly a sinner. He has a monomaniacal desire for revenge on the whale who bit off his leg, his refusal to help search for the missing boys from the ship Rachael. His petty cruelties and vicious comments to his crew are merciless and thoughtless. He does adopt the black boy Pip.
The cruel joy of the captain and crew in their wanton killing of the whales reflects the disregards for the creatures of the creation. But those were the times of the whalers and their owners.
Evil swims through the tale, yet life goes on and on. The work of the sailors, the easy banter of the men, the life of money, trade and human intercourse goes on all the while the world is a sinful and an evil plaice too. The whale kills Ahab and his crew, destroys the ship and only Ishmael survives to tell the tale.
Melville shows us the perversity of evil in the created world but there is resurrection and new life and Ishmael survives and presumably writes the book through Melville. The book is both a warning of the perversity of human sin and reflection of all the good things that rifle through humanity. Melville’s book does not reflect all the full joyousness and creativity of human life. He is more interested in the evil.
His art as a story teller and describing of the sea, sky, water, birds, fish, animals and the ways and whiles of human beings is magical.