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Laurel
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Re: starbuck



Choisya wrote:
I think he was courageous in that he was the only one on board to speak out against Ahab's insanity. To speak to a Captain as he did, and to suggest mutiny to others, risked lashes and other severe disciplinary measures, which a captain could enforce those days.




ziki wrote:


chad wrote:
"I see Starbuck as the moral compass for the voyage. He just wanted to do his duty and get back home to his wife and son with enough money for them to live on."

But I don't see this as courageous, necessarily.

Chad




Exactly, therein lies the point of interest.

ziki







And I think he was courageous to not commit murder, even though that was his only chance of staying alive.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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chad
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Re: starbuck and the whales

I generally take the marine mammal's side and, as I'm inching my way through this, there was some question as to whether he was courageous to the whale. Was he someone who fought the whales head on? I think Melville mentioned something earlier...

Chad
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chad
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Re: wonderous connections

I'm not sure this can be done peacefully.. Maelville, given what he says in "The Whiteness of the Whale", may even believe that peace, represented by the color white, comes from nothingness or death. Nature, on the otherhand is tumultuous, colorful and full of life.

Chad
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Re: wonderous connections



chad wrote: Hopefully we'll still remain a world after everything...

"Ack, breathe," I tell myself. Hope is an antidote to despair.

Haya Chad!
ziki
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white chapter

Thank you for reminding me, I keep wanting to go back to that chapter white as snow and instead I've got involved elsewhere...tongue of fire.

ziki
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fanuzzir
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Re: white chapter

It might be worth our while to look at that chapter while we ponder the whiteness of the Pequod's prey.
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Re: starbuck



Laurel wrote:And I think he was courageous to not commit murder, even though that was his only chance of staying alive.




Amen. Starbuck hang tough on this dilema. Does this lead us to the issue of sacrifice?
One could say he sacrificed a lot. Trying to save his own conscience he perhaps compromized that. At the same time I think he trully believed into the possibility of change, however improbable. It is not always easy to know how to act and when. Was he realist,idealist? The answer to Starbuck's trouble seems be a Gordian knot. Nevertheless, ethical reasoning will urge you to find a way out of such situations even if it seems that you are stuck. Starstuck.

In what way would Starbuck need to become as Ahab in order to defeat Ahab. Maybe the remedy here was homeopathic.

ziki
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Laurel
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Re: starbuck

Some things don't have an earthly remedy.



ziki wrote:


Laurel wrote:And I think he was courageous to not commit murder, even though that was his only chance of staying alive.




Amen. Starbuck hang tough on this dilema. Does this lead us to the issue of sacrifice?
One could say he sacrificed a lot. Trying to save his own conscience he perhaps compromized that. At the same time I think he trully believed into the possibility of change, however improbable. It is not always easy to know how to act and when. Was he realist,idealist? The answer to Starbuck's trouble seems be a Gordian knot. Nevertheless, ethical reasoning will urge you to find a way out of such situations even if it seems that you are stuck. Starstuck.

In what way would Starbuck need to become as Ahab in order to defeat Ahab. Maybe the remedy here was homeopathic.

ziki


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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chad
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Re: Pasteboard masks

[ Edited ]
"Vengeance on a dumb brute"

Man's problem in his relation with other animals is his inability to speak the same language, yet we often attrinute human characeteristics with our language to the same animals. So in essence, Starbuck could be fearful of being that dumb brute, or fearful of discovering that the whale is much more than a dumb brute, sending both the Pequod and the whaling industry into the whiteness of oblivion.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-08-200710:32 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Pasteboard masks

Judging from Starbuck's skepticism of Ahab's speech, I would call him a materialist, someone who believes only in the empirical value of things. In retrospect, his judgment seems shortsighted, incapable of appreciating and therefore managing Ahab's deeper motivations as well as woefully inadequate with regard to the majesty of Moby Dick. This perspective, however, might well have saved him if not for the more powerful pull of idealism in the book. Believe it or not, this pull is felt by Ahab when he refers to meanings behind the whale, and that all of reality is merely a pasteboard mask for deeper truths. He's the one who sees more to life, and will be damned if he does not find something more than a dumb brute out there.

With these two characters, Melville is showing that both perspectives are wrong but one might let you survive.
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chad
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Re: Pasteboard masks and the dollar

[ Edited ]
Ahab gives a litle more substance to the dollar bill by nailing a gold coin to a wooden mast- what I think reality is for the Pequod. I'm not sure the crew was paid in gold, and, after nailing the gold to the wood, I'm not sure Ahab motivated the crew more with its value than its shimmering color- they were a little different than pirates.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-09-200711:12 PM

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Choisya
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Re: Pasteboard masks

[ Edited ]
Was it materialism Fanuzzir or was Starbuck's speech meant to bring Ahab back to reality and sanity? By focussing on the value of the whale oil and carcase and reminding Ahab that he too had responsibilities at home Starbuck sparked off a beautiful anagnorisis in Ahab as he remembered his young wife and child. It also, I think, made Ahab more gentle towards Pip who perhaps reminded him of his own son (which is an interesting comment on race). Ahab sees meanings behind the whale but his insanity prevents him from fully understanding them. Only Ishmael, the survivor and the narrator understands them. I think:smileyhappy:




fanuzzir wrote:
Judging from Starbuck's skepticism of Ahab's speech, I would call him a materialist, someone who believes only in the empirical value of things. In retrospect, his judgment seems shortsighted, incapable of appreciating and therefore managing Ahab's deeper motivations as well as woefully inadequate with regard to the majesty of Moby Dick. This perspective, however, might well have saved him if not for the more powerful pull of idealism in the book. Believe it or not, this pull is felt by Ahab when he refers to meanings behind the whale, and that all of reality is merely a pasteboard mask for deeper truths. He's the one who sees more to life, and will be damned if he does not find something more than a dumb brute out there.

With these two characters, Melville is showing that both perspectives are wrong but one might let you survive.

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-10-200705:07 AM

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Re: Pasteboard masks

[ Edited ]
In one respect Starbuck was a smaller man than Ahab. As Bob put it, materialist. If Moby is majestic than it needs another dimension in a man to meet him. Ahab was at least willing to meet him albeit he had a wrong motive for it. He still had the inner dimension to do it, not so Starbuck. Ahab was able to unite all men behind his idea, while Starbuck didn't even manage to convince Flask and Stubb to act with him against Ahab when he deemed that critical.

How could Starbuck become the hero of this oddysey? What would he need to do? He listened to father Mapple but he was no Mapple when he needed to be one.


To meet the power of Moby in a constructive way requires a lot. It can blow your fuses and it sure blew Ahab's. Starbuck's suggestion was not to meet Moby, not to take any 'unnecessary' challenges. He knew what plight was. He did what he was hired for, no more.

But if you live like that, if that becomes your rule what life is there? A happy life? A mediocre life? A forgotten life? Ahab was his opposite, he risked everything and lost. But at least he dared to risk it all. Starbuck wasn't going to take any risks.

Ahab saw himself conquering Moby, conquering what he judged as terrible. He saw himself as the man who killed the white whale. It was not to be but he had the picture in his mind, the vision. The trap is that the vision has to serve a higher purpose and in Ahab'd case it didn't.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-10-200704:56 PM

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Re: white chapter

I reread the chapter #42 yesterday and I would sum it with white swallows all.
Moby-Dick would swallow most. Spiritually this makes sense. You can't hold onto anything in the face of God-light, it is a total let go and anihilation of all as you knew it.

But it depends if MD is interpreted as light and death (in which case it makes sense). There is a strong mystic element that Melville uses in this book.Life doesn't mean anything, Mr. Starbuck.

--------

This time around I managed to grasp the different sides of white he talked about, better than at my first reading of it anyhow but I doubt I will ever have this book under my belt, LOL.

ziki
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Re: Chapter 42: Everything



pmath wrote:
Isn't HM saying it doesn't distinguish, but encompasses everything? (Why would this be frightening?)


That idea of death is always frightening to the ego.

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Pasteboard masks

Another great post Ziki - thanks for these insights.




ziki wrote:
In one respect Starbuck was a smaller man than Ahab. As Bob put it, materialist. If Moby is majestic than it needs another dimension in a man to meet him. Ahab at least was willing to meet him albeit he had a wrong motive for it. He still had the dimension to do it, not so Starbuck. Ahab was able to unite all men behind his idea, while Starbuck didn't even manage to convince Flask and Stubb to act with him against Ahab when he deemed that critical.

How could Stabuck become the hero of the oddysey? What would he need to do? He listened to father Mapple but he was no Mapple when he needed to be one.


To meet the power of Moby in a constructive way requires a lot. It can blow your fuses and it sure blew Ahab's. Stabuck was suggesting not to meet Moby, not to take any 'unnecessary' challenges. He knew what plight was. He did what he was hired for, no more.

But if you live like that, if that becomes your rule what life is there? A happy life? A mediocre life? A forgotten life? Ahab was hi opposite, he risked everything and lost. But at least he dares to risk. Starbuck wasn't to take any risks.

Ahab saw himself conquering Moby, conquering what he judged as terrible. He saw himself as the man who killed the white whale. It was not to be but he had the picture in his mind, the vision. The trap is that the vision has to serve a higher purpose ang in Ahab'd case it didn't.

ziki


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Choisya
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Re: Chapter 42: Everything & Death

Death is more frightening to the young I think. When three score years and ten are under your belt, plus a few illnesses and some pain, I think it can be quite nice to think of lying quietly in your grave fertilising a lovely tree:smileyvery-happy:




ziki wrote:


pmath wrote:
Isn't HM saying it doesn't distinguish, but encompasses everything? (Why would this be frightening?)


That idea of death is always frightening to the ego.

ziki



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Re: Chapters 28-54: cpt Ahab-different readings

I guess it was important to me to acknowledge the first impressions from the first reading of it. I think they are valid because they pick up the immediate impression with which I can later work, which I'll come to manipulate.

Now the more I delve into the book the more clear/modified it becomes. However, I also think that the very first impression is valuable and I can never recreate it. I am keen on preserving it because many times it captures points that might be poignant but that with time become alternated by others' interpretations or my better understanding or excuses that I am not willing to make to start with. Now I tend to think the middle whale chapters weren't so bad, LOL. See?

The mind has many tricks and the first reading takes the mind unaware. Then when the material is commited to memory you cannot trust it in the same way because you will try to mold it at your convenience. With that I can't be bothered the first time when Ijust take it face on. Therefore I think it is interesting to capture the first impression even if it can sound very stupid at times.

ziki
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who's dr Phil



Choisya wrote:
I don't know who Dr Phil is ....



He is a psychologist that became a TV personality thanks to Oprah W. He wrote some books that became popular. He had his own show, too. Maybe still has, not sure.

ziki
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Town-Ho (spoiler)



fanuzzir wrote:
As we close out this section of the book does anyone want to have a go at the Town-Ho's story? (Chapter 54) Melville put that story there as a corrective or warning, I think.




I missed this post of yours but I think it is there to show a possibility, an outcome that actually didn't happen on Pequod. It says that the story was 'a private property of thre confederate white seamen'. Again the number three. And I immediately think about Flask, Stubbs and Starbuck when he tries to talk them into mutiny.

But I didn't know that at the first reading so the chapter hang loose so to speak...it all comes together first at the end.

And then he uses it to take us off the ship's setting for a moment and make the horizon a bit wider.

ziki
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