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Chapter 37: Sunset

pg. 176: [The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab sitting alone and gazing out]

The stage directions from the last chapter are back with a vengeance, leaving me no less scared and bemused. I thought I was reading a novel?

Anyway, Chapter 37 is a monologue by Ahab, written with no quotation marks or dialogue tags. Just Ahab's words and the page. He muses on how many symptoms of clinical depression he exhibits* and how difficult-yet-easy it was to convince the entire crew to go along with his wacky, whale-killing plans.

Chapter 38: Dusk is the exact same thing from Starbuck's perspective.

Starbuck ruminates on how easily Ahab swayed both him and the rest of the crew, and calls the crew heathens. I suspect this will become a theme.

Chapter 39: First Night-Watch is the same thing as 37 and 38, only Stubb-flavored, which makes things... interesting.

pg. 179: I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles! I feel funny. Fa, la! lirra, skirra! What's my juicy little pear at home doing now? Crying its eyes out?–Giving a party to the last arrived harpooneers, I dare say, gay as a frigate's pennant, and so am I–fa, la! lirra, skirra!

Yeah. It goes on from there.

Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle

At this point the book abandons all pretense of being prose and plows full steam ahead into the art of playwriting.

A sizable portion of the crew is out and about, most identified by their place of origin rather than their name. (DUTCH SAILOR, FRENCH SAILOR, 1ST NANTUCKET SAILOR, etc.) They sing for a bit**, make a few really terrible puns and some odd remarks about ladies, and then this happens.

pg. 185-186: OLD MANX SAILOR: [...] Our captain has his birth-mark; look yonder, boys, there's another in the sky–lurid-like, ye see, all else pitch black.

DAGGOO: What of that? Who's afraid of black's afraid of me! I'm quarried out of it!

SPANISH SAILOR:
(Aside) He wants to bully, ah!–the old grudge makes me touchy. (Advancing) Aye, harpooneer, thy race is the undeniable dark side of mankind–devilish dark at that. No offence.

DAGGOO [Grimly]: None.


But wait, it gets better. And by better I mean worse.

pg. 186: 5TH NANTUCKET SAILOR: What's that I saw–lightning? Yes.

SPANISH SAILOR: No; Daggoo showing his teeth.


I think I speak for everyone when I say "Oh, shit."

Daggoo rushes the guy and the crew forms one of those FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! circles, but one of the mates comes on deck and the duel breaks up before anyone gets hurt.

*pg. 176: Oh! time was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed. No more. This lovely light, it lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to me, since I can ne'er enjoy.

**Moby Dick: The Musical! But seriously, singing was a real thing done on real ships for a variety of reasons including terminal ennui.


---

Other adventures in Moby Dick include:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part Fourteen
Part Fifteen
Part Sixteen
Part Seventeen (You Are Here)
Part Eighteen
Part Nineteen
Part Twenty
Part Twenty-One
Part Twenty-Two

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ambrmerlinus: Portrait of a young white man with a flowing blond mohawk, in profile. (Default)
ambrmerlinus

February 2012

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