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chad
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Re: Moby Dick: Dramatic Personae - Ishmael

The religions seem to intersect at this character and also at "The Spouter Inn."

Chad
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fanuzzir
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Re: Captain Ahab

I note that you are now directing us to Chapters 28-54 - does the Ahab/adjective post really need to be there?

Thanks for asking. I think we should carry on our future discussions of Ahab either in that section or in the dramatis persona section, where we can consider him apart from the plot. Unless you see the chapter 28 as fitting in an important way to the narrative or thematic flow of the succeeding ones.
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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: Dramatic Personae

I was drawn to the character of Flask who did not even dare to help himself to butter at the Captain's table but who 'now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-deck, seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe right over the Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the deck, reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music. But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask enters King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the Slave.' (Chapter 34 The Cabin Table.) I wonder how Flask will assert his independence and rebelliousness in the days to come?






fanuzzir wrote:
Melville wrote larger than life characters in the manner of Shakespeare. The most memorable of them jump out of the novel's plot and present themselves as some flawed, gripping idea of humanity. Here' a chance to discuss some of literature's most memorable characters.


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friery
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"


fanuzzir wrote:
Melville wrote larger than life characters in the manner of Shakespeare. The most memorable of them jump out of the novel's plot and present themselves as some flawed, gripping idea of humanity. Here' a chance to discuss some of literature's most memorable characters.




The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.
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Laurel
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.


"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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friery
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"


Laurel wrote:
Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.







Good observation.

"Call me" also impressed me with its immediacy. It's direct and conversational. Not at all what I would have expected from an American novel written in the mid-nineteenth century.
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Laurel
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"


friery wrote:

"Call me" also impressed me with its immediacy. It's direct and conversational. Not at all what I would have expected from an American novel written in the mid-nineteenth century.




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.
"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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friery
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"





And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.
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Laurel
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"



friery wrote:




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.




I think of him as being 30 or a little younger, but I don't know.
"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: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

What interesting observations Laurel and Fiery! Could it also be that the Narrator is telling the story to another person, an enquirer after his journeys?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.





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friery
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

I think that we are that other person.





Choisya wrote:
What interesting observations Laurel and Fiery! Could it also be that the Narrator is telling the story to another person, an enquirer after his journeys?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.







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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

Melville himself went to sea when he was 20 and came back four years later. He started to write MD when he was 31. Perhaps Ishmael is written from the point of view of his young life when at sea? I find Ishmael to be older, however, because he knows so much and is quite wise. Could a young man be so erudite?



friery wrote:




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.


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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

Could we not be the people to whom the other person is now re-telling the story?



friery wrote:
I think that we are that other person.





Choisya wrote:
What interesting observations Laurel and Fiery! Could it also be that the Narrator is telling the story to another person, an enquirer after his journeys?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.










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fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Moby Dick: Dramatic Personae, Flask

But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask enters King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the Slave.' (Chapter 34 The Cabin Table.)

I love Flask too, as it reminds me of Babo, the famous slave in Melville's celebrated short story, "Benito Cereno." You will not find a more twisted masquerade of authority.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"



Laurel wrote:

friery wrote:

"Call me" also impressed me with its immediacy. It's direct and conversational. Not at all what I would have expected from an American novel written in the mid-nineteenth century.




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.





Right you are. With a prodigious knowledge of the Bible and a talent for self-dramatization.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"



Choisya wrote:
Melville himself went to sea when he was 20 and came back four years later. He started to write MD when he was 31. Perhaps Ishmael is written from the point of view of his young life when at sea? I find Ishmael to be older, however, because he knows so much and is quite wise. Could a young man be so erudite?



friery wrote:




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.







There is a type of young man of philosophical temper who is old before his time. So I think his age is deliberately kept vague--he cannot be a grizzled lifer on board boats, and he has to be old enough to have lived through some disappointment. I would say an idealistic and weathered 25. That's a hump to get over, if I remember correctly: that life was not going to be like you thought it was.
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fanuzzir
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Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael" (Spoiler alert)



friery wrote:
I think that we are that other person.





Choisya wrote:
What interesting observations Laurel and Fiery! Could it also be that the Narrator is telling the story to another person, an enquirer after his journeys?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. The "call me" causes us to leap directly into the narrator's personality. There's another possibility, too. In some languages (Russian, French, for example), "I am called..." is the form used, rather than "My name is...." We're forging into universal territory (the sea, the meaning of evil, etc.)



friery wrote:

The thought suddenly occurred to me: Melville could have started the novel with the phrase "My name is Ishmael." Rather, it was "Call me Ishmael."

Ishmael isn't necessarily the name of the narrator. Just as likely, it was a mask or pseudonym for the narrator.












Your idea is even more poignant given the message in a bottle nature to this novel.
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Laurel
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

Ishmael reminds me of my father, who turned 90 in July. He graduated from high school at 14 and was not able to go to college, because he had to help support his younger sisters. As soon as he was old enough, he joined the Merchant Marines (his eyes were too bad for the Navy) and set off for several years in the Pacific, which turned out to be war years. Anyway, there's a lot of down time at sea, and he spent his down time reading. He didn't have quite the variety of reading as Ishmael, but he certainly became a self-educated man. His little sisters ("the kids") told me recently that whenever he came home he would try to teach them all he had learned. Ishmael possibly had a year or two at Normal School to become a teacher, though not necessarily; most of what he knew came from voracious reading and traveling the watery part of the world.



fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Melville himself went to sea when he was 20 and came back four years later. He started to write MD when he was 31. Perhaps Ishmael is written from the point of view of his young life when at sea? I find Ishmael to be older, however, because he knows so much and is quite wise. Could a young man be so erudite?



friery wrote:




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.







There is a type of young man of philosophical temper who is old before his time. So I think his age is deliberately kept vague--he cannot be a grizzled lifer on board boats, and he has to be old enough to have lived through some disappointment. I would say an idealistic and weathered 25. That's a hump to get over, if I remember correctly: that life was not going to be like you thought it was.


"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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fanuzzir
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Re: Moby Dick: "Call me Ishmael"

That's a great portrait of your father.


Laurel wrote:
Ishmael reminds me of my father, who turned 90 in July. He graduated from high school at 14 and was not able to go to college, because he had to help support his younger sisters. As soon as he was old enough, he joined the Merchant Marines (his eyes were too bad for the Navy) and set off for several years in the Pacific, which turned out to be war years. Anyway, there's a lot of down time at sea, and he spent his down time reading. He didn't have quite the variety of reading as Ishmael, but he certainly became a self-educated man. His little sisters ("the kids") told me recently that whenever he came home he would try to teach them all he had learned. Ishmael possibly had a year or two at Normal School to become a teacher, though not necessarily; most of what he knew came from voracious reading and traveling the watery part of the world.



fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Melville himself went to sea when he was 20 and came back four years later. He started to write MD when he was 31. Perhaps Ishmael is written from the point of view of his young life when at sea? I find Ishmael to be older, however, because he knows so much and is quite wise. Could a young man be so erudite?



friery wrote:




And our Ishmael is certainly a chatty young man.




And that leads to the next question: is "Ishmael" young or not? One commentator I read on the web argued that he was obviously middle-aged.

Melville, in the second sentence of the book, states, "Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...."

This is deliberately obscure. But my overall impression after reading the book is that Ishmael is younger, rather that older. Maybe it's because I perceive him as being an innocent.







There is a type of young man of philosophical temper who is old before his time. So I think his age is deliberately kept vague--he cannot be a grizzled lifer on board boats, and he has to be old enough to have lived through some disappointment. I would say an idealistic and weathered 25. That's a hump to get over, if I remember correctly: that life was not going to be like you thought it was.





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seaman



Laurel wrote:
Ishmael reminds me of my father, who turned 90 in July....etc




Yay, ye shipmate, I drink to your father!

ziki
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