Moby Dick Read-A-Long Chapters 121-136: Fin. Get it? Plus: Grand Prize Winner Announcement!

Moby Dick Read-A-Long

Lost at sea? For all the details on this read-a-long, including schedule and sign up, click here. Then, share your thoughts in the comments, or better yet, link to your own post.

We made it! The read-a-long is over!

Congrats C.J.! Your shirt is on its way.

Congrats C.J.! Your shirt is on its way.

Before I get to the exciting finish of the book, I have an even more exciting annoucement. The winner of the Moby Dick Read-A-Long Grand Prize, a Moby Dick t-shirt from Out of Print Clothing, is C.J. of ebookclassics! C.J. is a Canadian book blogger who is working her way through 100 free ebooks that came with her ereader. She’s a champion readalonger, and is now reading along to The Odyssey AND will be taking on Tristan and Iseult for the Classics Retold event.  C.J. always had the best and most obscure Moby-Dick references from around the web. My favourites were the X-Files clips.

So: the book. This section captivated me. I ended up finishing way ahead of schedule because I just couldn’t stop. The last three chapters were thrilling. Everyone who says classics are boring and don’t have enough plot development? Um… you’re sort of right, but if you can get through the first 120 chapters I PROMISE it’s worth it.

I don’t know if I’ll do a proper review.It seems sort of silly to rate a book like Moby-Dick, as if it matters whether I give it four or five stars. I suspect I’ll have something more to say once I’ve digested a bit.

Last Chance: The last section has chance after chance for Ahab to change his mind, change course, and save himself. By those last three chapters, when we finally, FINALLY meet Moby Dick, you know it’s too late.

The Rachel: The Pequod meets The Rachel, and before long her captain is begging Ahab to help him search for his missing crew – a crew that includes his own son. He saved one son earlier, but had to choose which one to go to, as they were cast in different directions. The story has a mythical feel, and is indeed based on the bible story of Rachel and her sons Daniel and Benjamin. Ahab, of course, refuses to help. Was this his last chance for redemption?

But by her still halting course and winding, woful way, you plainly saw that this ship that so wept with spray, still remained without comfort. She was Rachel, weeping for her children, because they were not.

The Needle and the Damage Done In The Needle, there’s another chance to avoid The White Whale, foiled by Ahab. A storm causes the compass needles to malfunction, and The Pequod starts to go off-course. Ahab puts everything back to right with a Macgyver-like solution involving a needle and thread.

In his fiery eyes of scorn and triumph, you then saw Ahab in all his fatal pride.

Starbuck Wrestles with his Demons, Remains Sexy While Doing So: Starbuck has been the voice of reason to Ahab’s, well, Ahabness. Near the end, he almost stops the madness. Standing outside Ahab’s cabin with a loaded musket, he thinks of his wife and child:

 ‘On this level, Ahab’s hammock swings within; his head this way. A touch, and Starbuck may survive to hug his wife and child again. — Oh Mary! Mary! — boy! boy! boy! — But if I wake thee not to death, old man, who can tell to what unsounded deeps Starbuck’s body this day week may sink, with all the crew! Great God, where art thou? Shall I? shall I?’

I recently found out there was a Moby-Dick mini series that aired in 2011 starring William Hurt as Ahab and 90s heartthrob Ethan Hawke as Starbuck. I’ve been leaning towards Starbuck as my favourite character for a while and this doesn’t hurt!

There’s just something about Ethan and the classics. Who could ever forget his role as Pip (er, Finn) in Great Expectations? Remember that one scene, when Soundgarden was playing? If you were a teenage girl in the 90s you probably do. Ahem. Getting sidetracked here…

Hot for Quaker

Hot for Quaker

I Will Go Down With This Ship: What can I say? The prophecies come true. Ahab meets his fate. And our narrator is the sole survivor. Maybe Moby D tossed that coffin Ishmael’s way to make sure someone could tell the tale. Of course, he chose the one person who would take 750+ pages to do so. What a Dick.

Tune in Next Week: I’ll be in whale country myself next week. Off to the martimes. See ya in August!

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  • Check out this review of a novel by Melville’s great-great-great granddaughter Liza Klaussman, by one of my new favourite bloggers, Fourth Street Review. Can you imagine the pressure of following in the footsteps of an ancestor who is considered by many to be the greatest of all time? Yikes!
  • The same blogger turned me on to The Rathbonesa modern retelling of the Odyssey, with whales. She cautioned me that it might be a bit too weird, but as you guys know, I like weird. Added to the TBR list!


Well here’s a short review. I don’t remember the stuff about tying knots? More like 9000 pages about sperm and whale balls… 🙂

What did you think of this section? Link to your blog post below and drop me a line in the comments.

Thank you everyone! 





  1. Pingback: Moby Dick Read-A-Long: Sign Up! | Reading in Bed
  2. Heather

    Congratulations, C.J. *\o/*

    I have been super busy for the past week and haven’t finished the last section of the book. I will be back later in the week to post my wrap-up comments. 🙂

    • ebookclassics

      Thank you so much! So excited to have won the Moby Dick t-shirt. I’ll wear it as a badge of honour. I feel like reading this book was a huge accomplishment and should be celebrated. I’m reading The Odyssey now and well … I kinda miss the Pequod gang. It was a pleasure reading Moby Dick with all of you. Happy reading!

  3. Heather

    First of all, I love Sherman Alexie’s short review of the book. Haha! But like you, I don’t remember any knot-tying…I will now always remember our conversations about whale genitals and the clothing that can be made from them. Heh.

    I had forgotten that one of the ropes gets wound around Ahab’s neck and that’s how he’s swept away and killed. I kept picturing his head coming right off, even though that isn’t said in the book. Ew.

    I’m really glad I reread this with you–our conversations and these posts made the reading much more fun, I think. I enjoyed the reading more this time that I did when I read it for the first time years ago, and this readalong had a lot to do with that, I think. So thank you. 🙂

    • lauratfrey

      Yes, when I think of this book,I won’t think of whale skeletons or archaic sea jargon. It’s all sperm, balls, and gigantic penises lol!

      I am kind of annoyed that Ishmael didn’t explain why the whale is named Moby Dick.that’s gotta be a good story.

  4. Rick @

    “Yes, when I think of this book,I won’t think of whale skeletons or archaic sea jargon. It’s all sperm, balls, and gigantic penises lol!”

    This is why I read this blog LOL

    Laura, your posts have been great to follow along. Quirky, interesting, different than what most people do. Loved it. I feel bad I dropped off the face of the blogging universe instead while I was supposed to read this, but your posts helped bridge the gap 🙂

  5. jaynesbooks

    Finally finished it. I should mention that Daniel came later in the Old Testament and that Rachel’s oldest son was Joseph.

    Honestly not my favourite classic and there were times I was wanting to chuck the book across the floor, but somehow I persevered and finished it. Now I want to curl up and watch stuff off my PVR for the evening.

    • lauratfrey

      Whoops! Thanks – I was not at all familiar with the Rachel thing, and confess I wikipedia’d it and skimmed 😦

      Congrats on finishing! I think it’s one of those books that’s worthwhile even if you don’t love it. At the very least, you get bragging rights 🙂

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