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!
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…
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!
- 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 Rathbones, a 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!