Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Sunset: Chapter 37

I turned my CD player on a little while ago and listened to a reading of chapter 37. First I heard the stage directions: "The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab standing alone, and gazing out."

What followed really fooled me. I was sure Melville was quoting Shakespeare; I just couldn't place the play: Henry IV, perhaps? I just now looked it up to find that it's all set in prose and it's all Melville.

I think I said earlier that I've had trouble listening to Moby Dick on CD. I take it all back. What beautiful music!
"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
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 28-54: cpt Ahab



ziki wrote:
To me it was disapointing to read about Ahab as he finally appeared on the planks.
To start with, by making him invisible and introducing Elijah, Melville swept Ahab into mystery but now when he needs to live up to that expectation, it is very meak and unconvincing.

The book looses focus. What happens with POV? How does Ishmael see Ahab in practice? When he's on watch? Is he on watch? Why doesn't Melville show the life on board instead?

We are served some futile description about Ahab having some white scar and the worst Ahab does is to call a mate dog. At least he should threaten Ishmael directly and call him a miserable stinking rat or something and blow an unholy breath directly into his face .....but maybe that would be out of character.

(..but the move from being called a dog into the dream was elegant) :-)

Melville looses it a bit here, methinks. After a strong opening on land the plot goes overboard.
What happens with Queequeg? He just disappears in the bowels of the ship. There are no other men-characters introduced. Instead Melville moves into centology and theory.That is not wrong in itself but it isn't quite smoothe. To explain the life on ship would be more captivating in a context of a living plot and with help of some characters.

aye shipmates, thumb down for this...

I keep on reading
(The middle parts in books are often the most difficult for a writer to balance well and they are often ailing. Melville is not an exception to the rule.)

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-02-200701:19 PM




Ziki, Thank you thank you thank you. Chapters 28 -32 are a total breakdown of narrative discpline and point of view--there's absolutely no characterization of Ishmael, only strenuous attempts to lay on the drama of the appearance of Ahab. It picks up again in 34, a classic satire of shipboard dining, and then splits the point of view into his dramatic experiments. But yeah, I miss the narrator of the opening chapters. It's taught me alot about writing.
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Pasteboard masks



georgie wrote:
chapter 36 all visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. but in
each event, in the living act, the undoubted deed, there, some unknown but
still reasoning thing put forth the mouldings of its features from behind
the unreasoning mask.

Who has had experiences they can share where some object or event which
at first seemed to have no reason turned out to be really important to
you? So much so that it seemed more than just coincidence?




Everyone, let's tee off on this defense of Ahab, which literary critics have invoked as the true expression of the idealistic philosopher: to see, or look for the meaning behind everything. I felt power in Starbuck's response, in Chapter 36, seems right at first: "Vengeance on a dumb brute?" but then Ahab makes the argument that everyone who loves truth must find some sympathy in. Who is right?
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: help -end of Chapter 33



ziki wrote:


pmath wrote:
This passage is depressing:

For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-20-200609:21 PM






i would actually need some help with the whole end part of that chapter 33. The sentences are so convoluted that I read it three times and I get lost midways. I can't make a sense out of it.
...consequently I do not stand a fair chance to become depressed because of it...not yet... ;-)

ziki




The whole end of Chapter 33 is remarkable, actually. He remarks first on the need of discipline and naval usage on board ships, and includes Ahab among those how observe them; then he talks about his "sultanism," his imperialism of the brain, but then says that truly great men will be kept out of power by the external arts. (naval usages and customs?) Then he ends by saying that Ahab is just a "poor old whale hunter" and that his greatness will have to be manufactured literally out of thin air (the skies), or himself. So here you have an incredibly convulated meditation on the nature of power. By creating such pathos for the miserable little sea captain, Ishmael suggests that it comes from his book.
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Favorite moments from Chapters 28-40



fanuzzir wrote:
These chapters, 28-54, introduce us to Ahab and expertly foreshadow the doomed mission he and his crew are about to undertake.

Message Edited by fanuzzir on 12-10-200610:56 PM




Everyone, these are my favorite moments in these chapters so far, and I wanted to offer them as talking points:

1. Chapter 30, "The Pipe," and Ahab's own voice. He casts away his serenity and walks the deck like an automoton.

2. Chapter 34,"The Cabin Table," which contrasts the table manners of the American-born officers to that of the crew. The former is very clearly represented as the Ottomon world of sultans, emirs, and exotic forms of tyranny; the latter is described as "an almost frantic democracy," which must be an idealized portrait of America but is actually composed of all the foreigners and immigrants on board. Fascinating.

3. Chapter 35 is just beautiful. "The Masthead" actually captures the lull of thinking and of sailing high above the deck.

4. Chapter 36, "The Quarter Deck" is a brilliant portrait of men at war who actually have no war. After Ahab gets through with them, no one can stand in their way, yet no one is really in their way. Someone is behind them, though . . .

5. Chapter 37-40 are brilliantly original dramatized points of view, right down to the unnamed spear, or harpoon carriers. No one is left out; everyone has a philosophical or comical frame of mind. It's especially striking after the several chapters given to Ahab and his powers of mental coercion.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Sunset: Chapter 37

His language is certainly very impressive Laurel and he warrants the word 'Shakespearean'. Which CD do you have?



Laurel wrote:
I turned my CD player on a little while ago and listened to a reading of chapter 37. First I heard the stage directions: "The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab standing alone, and gazing out."

What followed really fooled me. I was sure Melville was quoting Shakespeare; I just couldn't place the play: Henry IV, perhaps? I just now looked it up to find that it's all set in prose and it's all Melville.

I think I said earlier that I've had trouble listening to Moby Dick on CD. I take it all back. What beautiful music!


Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Sunset: Chapter 37



Choisya wrote:
His language is certainly very impressive Laurel and he warrants the word 'Shakespearean'. Which CD do you have?





I listened to the reading by William Hootkins until I had to take it back to the library. It is wonderfully done.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9789626343586&itm=3

Then I checked out a Books on Tape production narrated by Paul Boehmer. I wasn't as happy with Boehmer at first, but he was the one who gave me the Shakesperian soliloque. Most excellent!
"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
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

a help with the end of Chapter 33



fanuzzir wrote: So here you have an incredibly convulated meditation on the nature of power.




Aha, thank you, I dig back into that with 'fork and knife and fork'.
Aye,tough old whale meat!

It was both more obvious and scary a few steps later, in Ch 36.

ziki
hey Bob, it's good with bird parents, they chew the hard bugs first before they feed it. ;-)
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

End of Chapter 33

Very funny, Ziki!


ziki wrote:
The sentences are so convoluted that I read it three times and I get lost midways. I can't make a sense out of it.
...consequently I do not stand a fair chance to become depressed because of it...not yet... ;-)

pmath wrote:
This passage is depressing:

For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.


Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 28-54: cpt Ahab

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote: It picks up again in 34, a classic satire of shipboard dining, and then splits the point of view into his dramatic experiments. .




yes, it 'gathered' a bit now, you're right. :-)


I am starting to see the point with the book, that is, why so many artists liked it, and got inspired by it. And I am also glad I can see it, otherwise I wouldn't last as a reader (which I was afraid of, afraid of having a whaleboring time).

There's the absolute ferociousness of an idea which the craftsman has to follow almost blindly, a kind of disregard of all agreed upon terms -but again- not all- (allas you'll be in a madhouse)...or terms you do not even know about, yet alone master, never mind! what? sog it! move on! plunge and swim...a pioneer power, which is totally coherent with the whale style and that was probably needed in-for-from-of the whale men....and also a childlike quality in creation, revelation or plain luck. Did I get carried away?

I am just working on my long mellvillean sentences! LOL

Yo, and also willingness to study and embrace facts (what with fiction and no-fiction, why bother!). Think and talk about yr thinking, get it across. I see why the book is called 'original' and why it wouldn't get published today when all is streamlined into a 'sell_able easy enough hollywood wordflow' a chew a gum style...how wing clipped the buck leaves the art, the style, the narration. The burgeois limitation transformed into a corporate power.

What pagan gods the writers of today have to put on their heads and worship while squatting - whether they want to perform the ritual or not. Ack.

It happened to movies and I am afraid it's happening to book industry right now, too. Television we've lost long ago. There are many ways to tell a story but Hollywood the god of entertainment knows just one, the one that brings home the bacon for certain, the immediate return of your investment in manyfold numbers, the new entertainment's 'nobility-debility' as fodder for lobotomized voyeurs.


Ho, now I've really stretched it.

Never underestimate the reader is one golden rule. I guess Melville didn't break that one, LOL!

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-03-200710:10 PM

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

Ch 33- Ahab

This was really scary. How easily a revenge turns into a tragedy for many.
It made me think of Hitler of course. The mass psychosis so cheaply bought if you only pay people in right currency and provide some valium for the inevitable doubts that must arise.

brrr....

I guess this is the total opposite of forgiveness and the healing attitude it can foster. Starbuck (even without coffee, heheh) standing for some sensibility and discernment that is so much in shortage on such occasions.
What is revenge but more pain inflicted? You loose a leg, no one can give it back to you no matter what. Ahab was bothering the whale, snap, leg gone, they should be even..but not so; the small human mind devilish in its pursuit...

I shudder again.

ziki
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

ch 30- Favorite moments from Chapters 28-40

the pipe....I was occupied by the probability of the sound as the pipe was extinguished in the waves. It hung like an accent circumflex over the whole scene.


ziki
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

ch37-40: such a heathen crew

Bejeeezus! This Melville is such an entertaining madman...now he feeds me this Shakespearlike drama of the dancing sailors...ROFL. If it wasn't written at that time I'd suspect the guy was on LSD! Imagine Melville as beatnik. Would America survive it?

But it is a lot of fun, that much is clear, just an intermezzo but elegantly done...drama of dramas onboard. If nothign else it sure brings a little life into it and gives the flavor of the sailors' night. I can just about recover a little before he throws me into a labyrinth of whiteness. I'd like to have a talk with this guy. Is it possible?

:-) ziki
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: ch37-40: such a heathen crew

LOL Ziki - Rum is probably much better than LSD:smileyhappy: Melville for President I say - if you manage to find him:smileyhappy:



ziki wrote:
Bejeeezus! This Melville is such an entertaining madman...now he feeds me this Shakespearlike drama of the dancing sailors...ROFL. If it wasn't written at that time I'd suspect the guy was on LSD! Imagine Melville as beatnik. Would America survive it?

But it is a lot of fun, that much is clear, just an intermezzo but elegantly done...drama of dramas onboard. If nothign else it sure brings a little life into it and gives the flavor of the sailors' night. I can just about recover a little before he throws me into a labyrinth of whiteness. I'd like to have a talk with this guy. Is it possible?

:-) ziki


Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Sunset: Chapter 37



Laurel wrote:
I turned my CD player on a little while ago and listened to a reading of chapter 37. First I heard the stage directions: "The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab standing alone, and gazing out."

What followed really fooled me. I was sure Melville was quoting Shakespeare; I just couldn't place the play: Henry IV, perhaps? I just now looked it up to find that it's all set in prose and it's all Melville.

I think I said earlier that I've had trouble listening to Moby Dick on CD. I take it all back. What beautiful music!




One of my Shakespeare friends just reminded me of this:

King Richard II

I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown...
"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
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

Laurel, stay



Laurel wrote:smileyembarrassed:One of my Shakespeare friends just reminded me of this:

King Richard II

I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown...




hey Laurel, do not resign yet, please

:-) ziki
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Laurel, stay



ziki wrote:


Laurel wrote:smileyembarrassed:One of my Shakespeare friends just reminded me of this:

King Richard II

I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown...




hey Laurel, do not resign yet, please

:-) ziki




I only wish Ahab had!
"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
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Sunset: Chapter 37

See the Wikipedia article, "Iron Crown of Lombardy."



Laurel wrote:


Laurel wrote:
I turned my CD player on a little while ago and listened to a reading of chapter 37. First I heard the stage directions: "The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab standing alone, and gazing out."

What followed really fooled me. I was sure Melville was quoting Shakespeare; I just couldn't place the play: Henry IV, perhaps? I just now looked it up to find that it's all set in prose and it's all Melville.

I think I said earlier that I've had trouble listening to Moby Dick on CD. I take it all back. What beautiful music!




One of my Shakespeare friends just reminded me of this:

King Richard II

I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown...


"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
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Comparing chapters 36 and 42

Here is a fascinating contrast of motivations and characterizations: the first is a classic piece of political theater, as Ahab's men learn to take his injury personally and adopt if for themselves. Bush II(hoping to avenge/overcome Bush I) could not have done it better. Then there is Ishmael's Edgar Allen Poe-like fascination with whiteness, and his own confession that he's in it for his own admittedly neurotic reasons. (Give me a hypo, he says). So whose quest is more pure? More moral?
Frequent Contributor
ELee
Posts: 418
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Pipes (possible SPOILER)

“How now, this smoking no longer soothes. Oh, my pipe! Hard must it go with me if thy charm be gone!”

For Stubb, a pipe was “like his nose...one of the regular features of his face” and a faithful contributor to his good humor in meeting even the deadliest encounters calmly and coolly. Ishmael likens his continual smoking to a “camphorated handkerchief” to the mouth during the time of cholera, which would prevent breathing in the air “infected with the nameless miseries of the numberless mortals”. The constant smoking of a pipe protects Stubb “against all mortal tribulations”.

Ahab tosses aside “lightly” this protection against earthly evils. He seems to be sloughing off this remaining little bit of human enjoyment like dead skin. His toiling to smoke with nervous puffs against the wind is futile. Ahab’s recognition that the image of an old man peacefully sending up “mild white vapors” will never be part of his future presages his final destiny.
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 222 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: