25 November 2016

Moby Dick Book Club: Week 4


Guys I didn't want to fully kill myself this section! Except, I totally skipped chapter 31- what was that even? Two sailors just chatting about a dream? I'm sure it all adds some sort of lovely layer to the novel that I'm fully going to miss out on but at this point I don't even care. The language is also really starting to get under my skin- if anyone can make out the meaning of the second sentence of chapter 32 you win a prize.

I was so thrilled to find a whale species breakdown (even thought once again Ishmael is pretending to be an expert with 0 whaling experience). Meg & I are also whale experts. We re-watched the trailor for In the Heart of the Sea a thousand times and would whisper over and over "the sperm whale has a human-like sense of vengeance"- I believe we made this fact up or took it out of context but I tell it to people often. 
  • I find the hyena whale to be second most scary because of the god damned grin "... the inner angles of his lips are curved upwards, he carries an everlasting Mephistophelean grin on his face," (140) and any animal with a grin scares the shit out of me.
  • The killer whale is by far the scariest. Just the way Melville writes about it is scary. "The killer whale is never hunted" (142). But what is actually FUCKED is that it takes its pray in its mouth and just holds it there until whatever its eating is "worried to death"... that is literally the most terrifying thing ever like how do whales even have that kind of sociopathic personality?
This section is the first time we hear of Moby Dick as well and we get some back story. It's very clear Ahab wants to hunt this whale dead. I really don't know why anyone would go back to re-face off with an animal that took your leg but... 

A part I loved about this section was the introduction of Dough-Boy the steward. I love him. They go on like they're about to torture him and then one of my favourite lines so far... "Dough-Boy's whole life was one continual lip-quiver," (151). Sounds like my new twitter bio.


I despise reading this book. I remember Stefan saying how do-able it was going to be ... like if you just read 17 pages a day you will be done in no time.  I can barely manage 5 pages a day. My friend Nick also made a good point about how funny it would be for a book club to just collectively quit the book they are reading. To just decide midway through life is too short and this book is TOO LONG.

Anyways, let's discuss!!!!

Obviously I love the section where they describe all the types of whales ... Meg and I already kind of talked about this when she was visiting me in Saint John a few weeks ago .. My favourite whale is the Razor Back mostly because it is the smallest description and therefore the most mysterious (lol):

"Of this whale little is known but his name. I have seen him at a distance off Cape Horn. Of a retiring nature, he eludes both hunters and philosophers. Though no coward, he has never yet shown any part of him but his back, which rises in a long sharp ridge. Let him go. I know little more of him, nor does anybody else"

As Stefan would say, #badbitchalert. 

Megs favourite whale is probably the one that would be the most annoying. What's yours?

So I'm pretty sure chapter 34 (The Cabin-Table) is our first introduction to Dough-Boy?? By title alone I feel like this is who I would be on the ship. 

One of the passages I liked most in this section is about how while at sea you don't seem to think of anything else: "There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea, with nothing ruffled but the waves." It seems like a super easy escape which is what Meg and I are all about. We have both had separate fantasies about moving to the Yukon. 

Essentially these men are just completely isolated from the real world. They have no idea what is going on back in Nantucket. This definitely sounds nice, unless your leg has been bit off by a whale or you are shipwrecked. 

So in my phone I have the note "176 they finally mention Moby Dick!!!!" This seemed like an exciting moment for me ... like when you hear the name of the movie used in the movie's dialogue? It wakes you up a bit?? But I don't really have anything else to say about it other than that two friends of mine in London named their cat Moby Dick. Maybe I will attach a picture...

But this is definitely my favourite, favourite line from chapters 31 to 40:

"Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!"

I really wish I had started this book while I was still catsitting Moby Dick in Ontario.. I would love to scream this out loud in my apartment while she kept me up all night meowing.

Also my last thing to add is that the managing editor at my work noticed I had Moby Dick with me and told me two things:

1) a friend of his reads this book every single year and apparently you don't start to like it until the third or fourth read

2) he follows an account on Twitter that tweets out a line from Moby Dick once every hour 

Maybe we should all stop reading and just starting following the Twitter account?


  1. I hate that god damned cat. Hunt Moby Dick dead.

    1. So again I felt little inspiration in this section. I didn't care even a little bit about the types of wales, so I skipped chapter 32.
      I did find the bit in chapter 33 explaining, as Ishmael would say ' a little domestic peculiarity on ship-board" intersting. We basically learn a little more about life on a ship and the designated areas for the different types of people and how this hierarchy and space allocation is important to the 'society' of the boat.

      I enjoyed the introduction of Moby Dick, and found the explanation of it's history with Ahab and how basically everyone on board had to get on the 'kill Moby Dick' bandwagon 'or else !'.
      I did not like chapter 40 one bit, I couldn't understand what was going on so I gave up. I'm already enjoying chapter 41 though, so I'm feeling optimistic!!

      Lets quit.


    2. Sorry two things I forgot;
      1) As I was getting a pedicure tonight and I pull out my book, the woman next to me says ' wow that's not something you see everyday, why on earth are your reading that'.
      2) Remember when I said I; 'thought it was funny and I liked it'.


    3. ok... do we need to take a vote of who seriously wants to quit or are we all just joking? half serious? fully serious?

      I am okay reading this although I can't imagine doing it once a year...

      side note guys- Emily Gilmore becomes a whaling educator at the Nantucket whale museum in the end of the new Gilmore Girls- a job I feel we're all well qualified for after reading this.

      I love seeing what we all do and don't care about (types of whales, life on ship, etc.).

      But seriously guys nobody is a prisoner is anyone dying to stop?

    4. I'm on board with continuing. I liked the section from this week and can see some light in this dark, dark tunnel. We can do this!!!

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