ambrmerlinus: Portrait of a young white man with a flowing blond mohawk, in profile. (Default)
[personal profile] ambrmerlinus
Hey guys, remember how I was able to read and recap and rant about The Hunchback of Notre Dame in only twelve parts? We're on part nineteen of Moby Dick. Just sayin'.

Chapter 43: Hark!, in which one crewman thinks he hears people making noise belowdecks and everyone teases him about it.

pg. 208: "Aye, you are the chap, ain't ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty miles at sea from Nantucket; you're the chap."

In reality, this is probably foreshadowing.

Chapter 44: The Chart, in which Ahab looks at a map.

Okay, it's a little more involved than that. He's trying to chart a path that will bring the Pequod within range of the predicted swimming patterns of Moby Dick. Ishmael gets really into describing migration patterns and currents and whatnot, and my eyeballs glaze over a little bit and I start having Hunchback of Notre Dame architecture flashbacks. But I did find this quote about Ahab interesting:

pg. 213: He sleeps with clenched hands; and wakes with his own bloody nails in his palms.

Hardcore.

In Chapter 45: The Affidavit, Ishmael makes a few interesting points.

He talks about whales that get harpooned and lived, only to be killed later by the same people who harpooned them the first time. He also talks about other whales almost as legendary as Moby Dick, like Timor Tom, New Zealand Jack, Don Miguel, and Morquan.

Then he gets into the fates of the sailors who go after these whales.

pg. 217-218: Do you suppose that that poor fellow there, who this moment perhaps caught by the whale-line off the coast of New Guinea, is being carried down to the bottom of the sea by the sounding Leviathan–do you suppose that poor fellow's name will appear in the newspaper obituary you will read tomorrow at your breakfast? No: because the mails are very irregular between here and New Guinea.

Emphasis mine, because I love it when Ishmael gets sarcastic.

pg. 218: For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's blood was spilled for it.

That's... actually a pretty good point. Careful there, Ishmael, or I might start taking you seriously.

Anyway, Ishmael goes over some more whale attacks, including the Essex, whose misadventures inspired Melville to write Moby Dick in the first place. So... meta? Maybe? I don't know.

There's also a mention of a Captain D'Wolf.

pg. 221: I have the honor of being a nephew of his.

...Ishmael D'Wolf?

The point of this chapter is to prove that sperm whales are violent and prone to attacking the ships that attack them. I believe this task could have been accomplished with far fewer words.

Chapter 46: Surmises, in which Ishmael delves deep into Ahab's brain and gives us the low-down on the Captain's motivation. Personally, I thought that was already pretty clear (whale eat leg, therefore kill whale), but it's not like I can stop Ishmael from talking.

Ishmael explains that if Ahab is to carry out his nefarious plan, he will have to keep the crew on his side and under control, which is harder than it sounds.

pg. 225: yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable–they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness

Ishmael is not a real doctor.

pg. 226: Having impulsively, it is probable, and perhaps somewhat prematurely revealed the prime but private purpose of the Pequod's voyage, Ahab was now entirely conscious that, in so doing, he had indirectly laid himself open to the unanswerable charge of usurpation; and with perfect impunity, both moral and legal, his crew if so disposed, and to that end competent, could refuse all further obedience to him, and even violently wrest from him the command.

TL;DR - Because Ahab is focused on killing one whale in particular instead of doing his damn job, the crew is totally within their rights to mutiny. In related news, I would be so on board with reading an AU fic where the crew mutinied.

Chapter 47: The Mat-Maker

Ishmael and Queequeg are hanging out on deck, weaving a sword-mat. It turns into a metaphor about how Ishmael is weaving his fate and Queequeg represents free will and whatnot. Kind of adorbs.

Their adorable moment is interrupted by a shout from Tashtego, who has seen a whaaaaaaaale omg you guys a whale let's go get it!

Everybody is running around in a tizzy getting ready to lower the boats and chase the whales when this happens:

pg. 229: But at this critical instant a sudden exclamation was heard that took every eye from the whale. With a start all glared at dark Ahab, who was surrounded by five dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air.

Spooky cliffhanger is spooky.

---

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
Part Eighteen
Part Nineteen (You Are Here)
Part Twenty
Part Twenty-One
Part Twenty-Two

Date: 2011-05-08 04:10 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
The DeWolfs were a New England shipping family that made a fortune in the slave trade. They were also heavily into politics. (They got themselves put in charge of Customs enforcement, after slave-trading was officially banned. Woo! The shipping family that had made its fortune slave-trading -- and which owned a sugar plantation in Cuba, and was currently running its slave-trading operation from Cuba -- got to enforce the U.S. ban against slave-trading!)

There's both a documentary and a book about them, produced/written by contemporary descendents who are trying to face up to the family legacy.

(Also, hi! Here via [personal profile] dorothean!)

Date: 2011-05-08 04:43 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
"I Can Fix It" is written by damali ayo, a local author and performance artist. She is awesomesauce.

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