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Choisya
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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)

Is it perhaps a reference to the 'thwarted, frustrated brotherhood' of Christians and Christianity and part of what Melville perhaps saw as what was wrong with the world - that the ideal of being 'my brother's keeper' was either under duress or had become non-existent?




fanuzzir wrote:

ziki wrote:
But Ahab and Starbuck brought out hidden qualities in each other. Ahab actually gave the ship to Starbuck counting on his strength to take care of it and the men in case Ahab would die in the fight with the white whale. It's like he had a premonition on the masthead. And thanks to Starbuck we saw the human glimpse even in Ahab that wouldn't seacrh after lost children of Rachel.


ziki




Extremely insightful. There's that handshake at the end, remember, when the men trade deep understanding of what was shared between them and what they will not be able to enjoy together. I see Melville pursuing this same theme of thwarted, frustrated brotherhood in so many stories: Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno. Thanks again Ziki.

Message Edited by fanuzzir on 01-31-200709:00 PM




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Choisya
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Re: gender-masculinity in Ahab and Ishmael

So are the 'poles of masculinity' here dry land and the sea? Does that make dry land 'natural'? Is all that happens on land brotherly, godly even, and all that happens at sea devilish? Ahab, Starbuck and Ishmael are interlocked just as, for sailors at least, land and sea are interlocked and because they represent aspects of the 'poles of masculinity' which are in all men, wherever they are.



fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Ziki wrote:
Is it possible to choose? Isn't it rather about an interplay of both, some dynamic creative expression based on the individual's unique ability? A merger of both receptivity and action and that in both women and men?



I'm going to flail away at the theme of my preceeding post: that Ahab and Starbuck/Ishmael are interlocked some way, as are the poles of masculinity everyone has been talking about. I think Melville says that it takes a horrible act of will to expunge that Starbuck/Ishael side; it is a decision, and a tragic one at that, to do so under what a man feels are unavoidable circumstances. Under "natural" circumstances, Melville's men, as we found in the dry land sections, are tremendously appealing, quirky, and affectionate. (Now you will ask me what is "natural.")



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Choisya
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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)

There was perhaps another, kinder end for Ahab where, after his conversations with Starbuck he had a further anagnorisis (recognition) and drew back from the search of MD, perhaps joining in the Rachel's search. MD would then have been a story of salvation/redemption not of life destroying hubris (pride). It was perhaps significant that Melville himself had dark thoughts about the state of the world, his fellow men, religion etc and had the need, therefore, to tell such a dark tale of a man's nemesis (punishment).




ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:Extremely insightful. There's that handshake at the end, remember, when the men trade deep understanding of what was shared between them and what they will not be able to enjoy together. I see Melville pursuing this same theme of thwarted, frustrated brotherhood in so many stories: Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno. Thanks again Ziki.

Message Edited by fanuzzir on 01-31-200709:00 PM






I didn't read other books by Melville but I think it is such a typical "male" scene....all is said and not much is said....it is both akward and very touching at the same time...and somehow there's no way back however much they both want it...

At best Ahab understood that he put all his money on the wrong horse but if he would retire what would be left of him? He'd detest himself, he couldn't see his face in a mirror and he wouldn't be of any help to his wife or child. I think they both saw it. And brothers they were because Stabuck would pay the same price, however unwillingly....

And then you have the ampersand longing women on the shore looking over the horizon holding a child by the hand.

Can you say anything else about a purpose and a lost mission? Hardly. Perhaps the only honor for Ahab was in death. What if he was a little changed man when he lowered for the third time? Then there's hope.

ziki


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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)



Choisya wrote:
There was perhaps another, kinder end for Ahab where, after his conversations with Starbuck he had a further anagnorisis (recognition) and drew back from the search of MD, perhaps joining in the Rachel's search. MD would then have been a story of salvation/redemption not of life destroying hubris (pride). It was perhaps significant that Melville himself had dark thoughts about the state of the world, his fellow men, religion etc and had the need, therefore, to tell such a dark tale of a man's nemesis (punishment).





Neat! Melville wrote Ahab as a tragic hero. What do you think could be the catalyst for such recognition?

ziki
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Re: gender



Choisya wrote:
So are the 'poles of masculinity' here dry land and the sea?




Could be, he the rough cliff standing steady dark and she in her PMS rage ;-) splashing crashing wave by wave at him, all over and again...breathe! Perpetual theater of Nature.

ziki
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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)


Choisya wrote:
There was perhaps another, kinder end for Ahab where, after his conversations with Starbuck he had a further anagnorisis (recognition) and drew back from the search of MD, perhaps joining in the Rachel's search. MD would then have been a story of salvation/redemption not of life destroying hubris (pride). It was perhaps significant that Melville himself had dark thoughts about the state of the world, his fellow men, religion etc and had the need, therefore, to tell such a dark tale of a man's nemesis (punishment).





Unless one looks at it as a coutionary tale for other men.
"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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Choisya
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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)

There were so very many omens but the final conversation with Starbuck in The Symphony could have formed the catalyst for a change of heart when Ahab reminisces about his life and his 'girl wife' ('I widowed that poor girl when I married her...'):

'...old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey - more a demon than a man? -aye, aye! what a forty years' fool - fool - old fool, has old Ahab been? Why the strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar. Oh Starbuck! Is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair, it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes. But do I look very old, so very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God! - crack my heart! - stave my brain! - mockery! mockery! ......

and so on. He tells Starbuck to stay behind so that he will see his wife and child but refuses to take that advice himself. Starbuck at last leaves him to his fate but Melville could perhaps have turned the story here and saved Ahab's soul and those of the paganised crew.




ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote:
There was perhaps another, kinder end for Ahab where, after his conversations with Starbuck he had a further anagnorisis (recognition) and drew back from the search of MD, perhaps joining in the Rachel's search. MD would then have been a story of salvation/redemption not of life destroying hubris (pride). It was perhaps significant that Melville himself had dark thoughts about the state of the world, his fellow men, religion etc and had the need, therefore, to tell such a dark tale of a man's nemesis (punishment).





Neat! Melville wrote Ahab as a tragic hero. What do you think could be the catalyst for such recognition?

ziki



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Re: Starbuck x Ahab, (Possible Spoiler end of the book)

Ahab seems to have decided, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."



Choisya wrote:
There were so very many omens but the final conversation with Starbuck in The Symphony could have formed the catalyst for a change of heart when Ahab reminisces about his life and his 'girl wife' ('I widowed that poor girl when I married her...'):

'...old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey - more a demon than a man? -aye, aye! what a forty years' fool - fool - old fool, has old Ahab been? Why the strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar. Oh Starbuck! Is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair, it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes. But do I look very old, so very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God! - crack my heart! - stave my brain! - mockery! mockery! ......

and so on. He tells Starbuck to stay behind so that he will see his wife and child but refuses to take that advice himself. Starbuck at last leaves him to his fate but Melville could perhaps have turned the story here and saved Ahab's soul and those of the paganised crew.




ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote:
There was perhaps another, kinder end for Ahab where, after his conversations with Starbuck he had a further anagnorisis (recognition) and drew back from the search of MD, perhaps joining in the Rachel's search. MD would then have been a story of salvation/redemption not of life destroying hubris (pride). It was perhaps significant that Melville himself had dark thoughts about the state of the world, his fellow men, religion etc and had the need, therefore, to tell such a dark tale of a man's nemesis (punishment).





Neat! Melville wrote Ahab as a tragic hero. What do you think could be the catalyst for such recognition?

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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wonderous connections

"For a long time I fancied that the sperm whale had been always unknown in the Meditterranean and the deep waters connected with it." p 255

I think we are connected to each other through the ocean, the Mediterranean sea and the old Roman empire, with its own mythical whale that fought back...

Chad
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chad
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Re: Ahab #4 : (Possible Spoiler) Focussing v. Multi-tasking

"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
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Choisya
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Re: wonderous connections

I wonder why Melville thought this because the Mediterranean connects with the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibraltar and there have always been whales in its waters, which are now protected by the WWF:-

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=10281




chad wrote:
"For a long time I fancied that the sperm whale had been always unknown in the Meditterranean and the deep waters connected with it." p 255

I think we are connected to each other through the ocean, the Mediterranean sea and the old Roman empire, with its own mythical whale that fought back...

Chad


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starbuck



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
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chad
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Re: wonderous connections

[ Edited ]
I don't know. The whale sometimes became the focus of our collective hysteria or monomania. In other words , the whale became that which we struggle against, because of it's size. At the height of the whaling industry, something that took place worldwide, the mythical white whale was so large, he was the world. Destroying Moby would be like killing our own world- he was the collective consciousness of mankind.

Are there large things that now have to be destroyed because they are too large?.... I'm hoping you won't say the entire human being population because the Muslim religion is simply not large enough...

Pretty important that whale of ours,
Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-07-200712:25 AM

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Choisya
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Re: starbuck

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


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Choisya
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Re: wonderous connections

Why do you specify the Muslim religion, why not just religion? Wouldn't something else pop up in its place? I would like to see the large corporations tamed and brought into a worldwide cooperative system because I think they are now doing more harm than governments and religious heirarchies put together. Melville (and Sinclair) railed against the excesses of capitalism and so should we.





chad wrote:
I don't know. The whale sometimes became the focus of our collective hysteria or monomania. In other words , the whale became that which we struggle against, because of it's size. At the height of the whaling industry, something that took place worldwide, the mythical white whale was so large, he was the world. Destroying Moby would be like killing our own world- he was the collective consciousness of mankind.

Are there large things that now have to be destroyed because they are too large?.... I'm hoping you won't say the entire human being population because the Muslim religion is simply not large enough...

Pretty important that whale of ours,
Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-07-200712:25 AM




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Re: wonderous connections

What is interesting in this is the opposition, teh conflict. Like you need that in order to grow. When USA had Sovjet it felt 'safe' after Gorbatjov there was all of a sudden nothing to fight against and it was like 'what do we do now?" So one invents the fight elsewhere and the terrorists provided that focus and 'good reasonsf or it.
So what is the whale of ours? it's liek each side constructs the white whale in their minds ns starts chasing it no matter what. Both miss the point, which is no fight.

And we went the full circle...could you exist without struggle, without resistance, without opposition and still present yur best? In which case what is challenge? Do you need the whale?

ziki
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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.



He didn't want to go as far as to killing Ahab. But they were guys who tried to kill Heidrich. In Starbuck's case the good was not good for anything, it didn't manifest because he didn't act. You can't say he couldn't act because of obedience then we have the third reich in front of our noses again. Sometimes you have to step out of the frame because the frame is not functional, any leader needs to do that when necessary.

ziki
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Re: wonderous connections

[ Edited ]
"Melville (and Sinclair) railed against the excesses of capitalism and so should we."

I think Sinclair felt that we didn't know what capitalism was- but that's an interesting point. It's like capitalism becomes a great white whale around which everyone rallies, but which no one seemingly understands fully- we're simply connected throgh a concept of capitalism.

Melville mentions Afghanistan and the Muslim religion as if it would become the great white whale which would be the focus of our monomania-- we are also the focus of theirs, by the way. Hopefully we'll still remain a world after everything...

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-07-200710:36 AM

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Choisya
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Re: wonderous connections

The white whale could also represent the white dove of peace. Challenge does not have to mean conflict - there is a lot of peaceful growing to be done in the world, especially in the 'third' world, which we could help peacefully, in a spirit of cooperation.




ziki wrote:
What is interesting in this is the opposition, teh conflict. Like you need that in order to grow. When USA had Sovjet it felt 'safe' after Gorbatjov there was all of a sudden nothing to fight against and it was like 'what do we do now?" So one invents the fight elsewhere and the terrorists provided that focus and 'good reasonsf or it.
So what is the whale of ours? it's liek each side constructs the white whale in their minds ns starts chasing it no matter what. Both miss the point, which is no fight.

And we went the full circle...could you exist without struggle, without resistance, without opposition and still present yur best? In which case what is challenge? Do you need the whale?

ziki


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Choisya
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Re: starbuck

I fully agree and have written somewhere that he failed as a 'conscience' because he did not live up to his convictions. Pastor Neimoller again: 'First they came for the gipsies but I did not speak up because I wasn't a gipsy...' and so on.



ziki wrote:


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.



He didn't want to go as far as to killing Ahab. But they were guys who tried to kill Heidrich. In Starbuck's case the good was not good for anything, it didn't manifest because he didn't act. You can't say he couldn't act because of obedience then we have the third reich in front of our noses again. Sometimes you have to step out of the frame because the frame is not functional, any leader needs to do that when necessary.

ziki


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