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Re: Pipes

And we had Queequeg smoking with Ishmael. Perhaps we gotta investigate this tobacco biz in the book a bit more closely.

z.
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Chapters 28-54: whales, names and POV



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




I wonder who actually gave Moby Dick his name? So far we do not know.

Bro Melville is really taking some wild liberties in his writing. When he speaks about the whales their names an probability of re-encoutering them then he refers to what he has seen before, three times etc.

But Ishmael is on the sea for the first time, he didn't see much yet.I guess we just have forgive Melville; taking into account his enthusiasm and will to tell it all to us at once ;-)

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Chapters 28-54: whales, names and POV

I read somewhere on one of the lnks here that whaling men have long been able to recognise whales which they have seen by marks on their fins, bodies etc. so although Ishmael may not have had this experience Melville himself, and the others on board Moby Dick, have probably had sighting of the same whale more than once.




ziki wrote:


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




I wonder who actually gave Moby Dick his name? So far we do not know.

Bro Melville is really taking some wild liberties in his writing. When he speaks about the whales their names an probability of re-encoutering them then he refers to what he has seen before, three times etc.

But Ishmael is on the sea for the first time, he didn't see much yet.I guess we just have forgive Melville; taking into account his enthusiasm and will to tell it all to us at once ;-)

ziki


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georgie
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Re: Ayn Rand

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.

For a dissenting opinion I would like to point to Ayn Rand, who in her classic books, always points out that "external arts and entrenchments" are not "paltry and base". They are what give meaning and purpose to our lives, even to those of politicians!

I must say I'd also appreciate some extrapolations from you, using your own questions as a starting point.

What I think that Melville is saying is that "men get power over other men by what they know how to do. And a lot of what they know is really meaningless." In contrast I was thinking of what Rand says (in paraphrase) "It's what a man knows how to do that determines his identity. All aquired skills are important no matter how small. It is the unskilled person who will complain when the skilled person is given the responsibilites and receives the rewards."
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georgie
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the great practical joke

chapter 49 there are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed
affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast
practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns.

Does anyone have this feeling sometimes? If so what do you supppose the
point of the joke is?
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Melville& Ayn Rand



georgie wrote:What I think that Melville is saying is that "men get power over other men by what they know how to do. And a lot of what they know is really meaningless." In contrast I was thinking of what Rand says (in paraphrase) "It's what a man knows how to do that determines his identity. All aquired skills are important no matter how small. It is the unskilled person who will complain when the skilled person is given the responsibilites and receives the rewards."





Thank you, I should give Rand a reread to be able to follow in a more maningful way.
I wonder if this is possibly a question of a different POV? Isn't Rand in her philosophy very grounded in the world of immediate appearances including the individualistic, egocentric position, while Melville seems to take his thinking all the time to the edge of the Divine Unknown?
While she proclaims the greatness of man existentially, he proclaims it divinely?

ziki
floating around
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Re: the great practical joke



georgie wrote:
chapter 49 there are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed
affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast
practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns.

Does anyone have this feeling sometimes? If so what do you supppose the
point of the joke is?




the point would be: nothing matters, time is not, what you think will be already was and you are just a puppet on the string....what appears is just a movie for your enjoyment or horror (depends what ticket you bought or better say was given-[it's a lottery])...and so when you realize all that, you cannot but laugh madly...because then you are forever free.

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: the great practical joke

None, unless it be a very cruel point by an unknown sadistic 'deity'.




georgie wrote:
chapter 49 there are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed
affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast
practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns.

Does anyone have this feeling sometimes? If so what do you supppose the
point of the joke is?


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Choisya
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Re: Melville& Ayn Rand



ziki wrote:
Isn't Rand in her philosophy very grounded in the world of immediate appearances including the individualistic, egocentric position, while Melville seems to take his thinking all the time to the edge of the Divine Unknown?
While she proclaims the greatness of man existentially, he proclaims it divinely?

ziki
floating around





But surely Melville had forsaken the Divine, that is religion and God, by the time he wrote Moby Dick? (According to the biogs.)
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fanuzzir
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Re: Melville& Ayn Rand

Melville's Ahab would have fit squarely within Rand's philosophy of the self-actualizing, heroic self. I just don't think he would believe any good could come of it.
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fanuzzir
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The first lowering

I was hoping that we might enjoy together the first chase scene, Chapters 47 and 51, and watch the characerizations emerge. It occurs after the most explicit criticism of Ahab in Chapter 46, "Surmises," where he refers to the "terrible old man." Then we see his terror at work. What role do others play in another man's misery?
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Re: The first lowering

aha, gotta go back to it...
z.
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Re: Melville& Ayn Rand



Choisya wrote:smileyembarrassed:But surely Melville had forsaken the Divine, that is religion and God, by the time he wrote Moby Dick? (According to the biogs.)



Choisya, I do not really know what I am talking about here. I am just trying to sift (intead of sieve) the plankton out of the water... you know what I mean? I am groping in the dark half of the time.

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Melville and the Divine

I am in the dark metaphorically and physically ziki. I am going through a patch of SAD at present - the long dark days of winter at this time of year tend to get resurrect my depression. Perhaps reading MD, The Jungle and Kafka at the same time, and struggling in the British Classics, is not a good idea:smileysad:




ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote:smileyembarrassed:But surely Melville had forsaken the Divine, that is religion and God, by the time he wrote Moby Dick? (According to the biogs.)



Choisya, I do not really know what I am talking about here. I am just trying to sift (intead of sieve) the plankton out of the water... you know what I mean? I am groping in the dark half of the time.

ziki


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Choisya
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Re: The first lowering

[ Edited ]
In these chapters as in previous ones the obsession of Ahab is revealed even to the extent of him having hired special Oriental boatmen to assist the hunt and has smuggled them on board having 'laid himself open to the unanswerable charge of usurpation' Yet when the men come back from the first boat lowering Stubb says admiringly "Who would have thought it, Flask!" cried Stubb; "if I had but one leg you would not catch me in a boat, unless maybe to stop the plug-hole with my timber toe. Oh! he's a wonderful old man!" and Flask replies with equal admiration "I don't think it so strange, after all, on that account...If his leg were off at the hip, now, it would be a different thing. That would disable him; but he has one knee, and good part of the other left, you know." "I don't know that, my little man; I never yet saw him kneel." responded Stubb, perhaps a reference to Ahab's lack of piety. From the time of the pagan ritual of rum drinking with the men there has been a Faustian pact with them.

Starbuck, on the other hand, at the height of a terrible storm in Chapter 51, when the men were lashed to the ship with bowlines, and 'wordless Ahab stood up to the blast' had no such feelings and sounds a note of warning: 'Even when wearied nature seemed demanding repose [Ahab] would not seek that repose in his hammock. Never could Starbuck forget the old man's aspect, when one night going down into the cabin to mark how the barometer stood, he saw him with closed eyes sitting straight in his floor-screwed chair; the rain and half-melted sleet of the storm from which he had some time before emerged, still slowly dripping from the unremoved hat and coat.... Though the body was erect, the head was thrown back so that the closed eves were pointed towards the needle of the tell-tale (ship's compass) that swung from a beam in the ceiling. Terrible old man! thought Starbuck with a shudder, sleeping in this gale, still thou steadfastly eyest thy purpose.'

In Chapter 46 Ahab ponders how to keep the men on his side even though he has acted in a way that could cause mutiny. Melville seems to hint here that everything can be bought at a price: 'Nor was Ahab unmindful of another thing. In times of strong emotion mankind disdain all base considerations; but such times are evanescent. The permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man, thought Ahab, is sordidness. Granting that the White Whale fully incites the hearts of this my savage crew, and playing round their savageness even breeds a certain generous knight-errantism in them, still, while for the love of it they give chase to Moby Dick, they must also have food for their more common, daily appetites. For even the high lifted and chivalric Crusaders of old times were not content to traverse two thousand miles of land to fight for their holy sepulchre, without committing burglaries, picking pockets, and gaining other pious perquisites by the way. Had they been strictly held to their one final and romantic object- that final and romantic object, too many would have turned from in disgust. I will not strip these men, thought Ahab, of all hopes of cash- aye, cash. They may scorn cash now; but let some months go by, and no perspective promise of it to them, and then this same quiescent cash all at once mutinying in them, this same cash would soon cashier Ahab.'

In these ways the crew were complicit in Ahab's fatal obsession and in the long run will contribute to his misery and his death. Just as we, in the course of earning our daily bread, many times contribute to the ills of the world. 'Plus c'est la meme chose, plus can change' (the more things change the more they stay the same:smileyhappy: )









fanuzzir wrote:
I was hoping that we might enjoy together the first chase scene, Chapters 47 and 51, and watch the characerizations emerge. It occurs after the most explicit criticism of Ahab in Chapter 46, "Surmises," where he refers to the "terrible old man." Then we see his terror at work. What role do others play in another man's misery?

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-07-200704:15 PM

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fanuzzir
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Re: The first lowering

This is such a wonderful reading and selection of a pivotal character and plot point. It seems, as Choisya finds, that Ahab himself is not too immersed in his own quest to neglect the mundane aspects of maritime operations, chief of which is pacification. I know that Melville was both fascinated and horrified throughout his career how easy it was to produce consent in subjugated peoples (sailors), which is why he stuck with the naval theme for so long. Here he's putting Ahab's own romanticism in a new light: when he uses that word himself to refer to the crew's (and by extension, Ishmael's) manufactured motivation, then does he have a sincere one himself?
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Choisya
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Re: The first lowering

I think Melville has a sincere motivation in drawing these things to our attention, especially how easy it is to motivate a small number of people into doing beastly things - think Hitler Youth. However, I do not think Ishmael is sincere because he too takes part in the mass hysteria of the pagan ritual and subsequent satanic acts encouraged by Ahab. Perhaps the point of this is to point out that even high minded men like Melville (and Ishmael) can be drawn into such a maelstrom? (And so can we....)




fanuzzir wrote:
This is such a wonderful reading and selection of a pivotal character and plot point. It seems, as Choisya finds, that Ahab himself is not too immersed in his own quest to neglect the mundane aspects of maritime operations, chief of which is pacification. I know that Melville was both fascinated and horrified throughout his career how easy it was to produce consent in subjugated peoples (sailors), which is why he stuck with the naval theme for so long. Here he's putting Ahab's own romanticism in a new light: when he uses that word himself to refer to the crew's (and by extension, Ishmael's) manufactured motivation, then does he have a sincere one himself?


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fanuzzir
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Re: The first lowering

You draw great attention to Ishmael's stake in Ahab's quest. What is Ishmael's journey so far to everyone else?
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Choisya
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...

I have been thinking about Bildungsroman in relation to North & South but I think it could also be applied to Ishmael - the growth and devlopment of a character within a defined social order, leading, via many vicissitudes, to maturity. What think you folks - is this novel, in addition to being many other things, a Bildungsroman?




fanuzzir wrote:
You draw great attention to Ishmael's stake in Ahab's quest. What is Ishmael's journey so far to everyone else?


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Chapter 41: Gorge

This is disturbing:

Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form. Ahab's full lunacy subsided not, but deepeningly contracted; like the unabated Hudson, when that noble Northman flows narrowly, but unfathomably through the Highland gorge.
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