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Re: the power of the sea to attract us



georgie wrote:what is this power of the ocean to attract and how does it affect you?




Considering we are creatures that contain so much water perhaps we are subconsciously drawn to water. A horizon implies a limit. A human being wants to cross limits. Sea seems to be endless and also powerful, man likes challenges. A horizon attracts dreams. Man wants to dream, he needs this /her dreams. Sea is both freedom in our imagination and a limit in our reality.

I didn't grow up by the sea but'craved that' and my first swim in the sea was a huge happening in my 'child life'.

ziki :-)
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Choisya
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Re: making ourselves start to converse

Perhaps they were just keen on getting a good breakfast to start the day? These were not rich men and food would be important to them. They would want to get their share of what was on offer. Also, many folk aren't chatty in a morning - I hate mornings myself and when I was at work I tried to avoid conversation until around 11am:smileyvery-happy:




georgie wrote:
chapter 5 nearly every man maintained a profound silence. and not only that, but theey looked embarrased. yes, here were a set of sea dogs, many of whom without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great whales on the high seas...and duelled them dead without winking, and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table, all of the same calling, all of kindred tastes, looking round as sheepishly at each other...a curious sight these bashful bears, these timid warrior whalemen

Why is it so difficult for many to start conversations, regardless of their courage or circumstance? What are some of the things we tell ourselves that are successful in getting us to "break the ice"?


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Choisya
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Re: All that whaling lore

Ziki: I believe that Melville really wanted to write non-fiction containing his political and personal philosophies but he found that these essays/books did not sell and so he decided to turn to fiction and put his ideas over in a different way. It (eventually) worked! (Ilana will be able to expand on this but I think I am roughly correct - I don't have my book Notes by me at present:smileyhappy:)
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to converse in the morning-off topic



Choisya wrote:
I hate mornings myself and when I was at work I tried to avoid conversation until around 11am:smileyvery-happy:





HAhah , you and I would make good co-workers. Once a producer told me: if I wanted to ask you a question and get a reasonable answer I knew I had to wait until 1 p.m.

I was shocked, ROFL.

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: are we all slaves?

Like Melville, I believe that we are all slaves to something or other but discontented ones. The majority of us are slaves to our emotions, to our work, to our prejudices, to our religion (if we have any), to our upbringing etc etc. Marx said 'only the artist is free' because the artist is not (usually) tied to the production belt of life and work and is able to pursues a bohemian, unconventional, albeit poor, lifestyle. It is interesting that we are pursuing the same question here that Kafka posed in Metamorphosis and other tales - being discussed on another board.




georgie wrote:
chapter 1 who aint a slave, tell me that...everybody else is one way or another served in much the same way, either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is, and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each others shoulder blades, and be content

are we slaves? why or why not? are we content either way?


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Choisya
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Re: making ourselves start to converse

I can't speak for Americans but Brits would rarely talk in a boarding house/hotel situation at breakfast or any other time and if they did so they would do it in whispers:smileyhappy: Everyone could hear your conversation! Dreadful! :smileyvery-happy:




ziki wrote:

georgie wrote:Why is it so difficult for many to start conversations, regardless of their courage or circumstance? What are some of the things we tell ourselves that are successful in getting us to "break the ice"?




There's often nothing to talk about.Most conversations are really monologues. No one is interested in listening, both sides want to talk and be listened to and feel comfortable,
acknowledged.

Generally people chat too much because they can't tolerate the silence. They feel uncomfortable in the silence. However, silence is golden.
Silence can also be an expression of inability to be honest. Things that 'you're not supposed to talk about' are not mentioned....in which case it breaks a relationship.

During the breakfast only Ishmael expected the talk. He was a newbie, he was curious. Those who knew didn't have the same need to talk about whales. And last but not least it is not easy to talk when you eat. Those two occupations do not combine easily, either you talk or you eat; you can't do both at the same time. It's difficult to keep your full attention on the taste of the food and the flow of social conversation at the table.

Breakfast in the morning and the bar in the evening are two different 'male' social situations.

my two rupees :-)
ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 12-31-200609:47 PM




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book-nut
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Re: All that whaling lore



ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote: I do think all of Melville's factual whaling lore, the whaling mythology, and the philosophical mysticism is an attempt to create a deeply textured literary-secular "religion." What do you all think?




Literary-secular religion...how do you mean in simple words?

I didn't read that far yet but a question arises in my mind already: why did Melville go into all the whaling detail (as I hear)....but maybe he just had to stick to some frame/ setting that could hold his 'big' thoughts.

I'll come back to this later.

ziki




I think Melville used whaling because, having worked on a whaling ship, obviously this had made a big impression on him. This is what he knew about, and therefore (as I think someone else said earlier) whaling is the was Melville filtered life through his own "lens..." Whaling was his own paradigm, or way of seeing things.
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Re: making ourselves start to converse



Choisya wrote:
I can't speak for Americans but Brits would rarely talk in a boarding house/hotel situation at breakfast or any other time and if they did so they would do it in whispers:smileyhappy: Everyone could hear your conversation! Dreadful! :smileyvery-happy:




ziki wrote:

georgie wrote:Why is it so difficult for many to start conversations, regardless of their courage or circumstance? What are some of the things we tell ourselves that are successful in getting us to "break the ice"?




There's often nothing to talk about.Most conversations are really monologues. No one is interested in listening, both sides want to talk and be listened to and feel comfortable,
acknowledged.

Generally people chat too much because they can't tolerate the silence. They feel uncomfortable in the silence. However, silence is golden.
Silence can also be an expression of inability to be honest. Things that 'you're not supposed to talk about' are not mentioned....in which case it breaks a relationship.

During the breakfast only Ishmael expected the talk. He was a newbie, he was curious. Those who knew didn't have the same need to talk about whales. And last but not least it is not easy to talk when you eat. Those two occupations do not combine easily, either you talk or you eat; you can't do both at the same time. It's difficult to keep your full attention on the taste of the food and the flow of social conversation at the table.

Breakfast in the morning and the bar in the evening are two different 'male' social situations.

my two rupees :-)
ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 12-31-200609:47 PM









Choisya,

I know exactly what you mean. I consider myself very reserved ~ for an American, anyway! When I went to Europe I actually felt more comfortable in some ways than I do in the US (Weird because I'm 6th generation American). My ancestors were from Ireland and Britain, and came here in the late 1600's - early 1700's.
With most Americans, these days anyway and especially in my area of the US, it's a "let it all hang out" type mentality. I am not comfortable with strangers overall. I found Brits a lot more reserved, more like me.

Let's not forget the gender issues here. How about the man vs. woman thing? These are all men - no women are present at breakfast. Most men are notoriously bad at small talk. Women love to talk, about anything and everything. Men don't. (With exceptions, of course!) But for most men, the less said the better! If there's something to be said, they'll say it. Otherwise, forget it...
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right or wrong

[ Edited ]

matthieu_78741 wrote: I'm simply saying one has to be able to discern between right and wrong, safe relationships and potentially dangerous ones, and take precautions to ensure life.

I don't think Melville expects us to believe head selling, doll worshiping, or cannibalism are acceptable behaviors. It seems more like he's created an exaggerated cultural barrier to force the reader to reconcile it with Qeequeg's loyalty and compassion. He's saying there is a good man, a loyal friend, beyond what his culture has taught him - right or wrong as it might be.




But who is to decide what is right or wrong? That is also a question posed to us by this text.

Moreover, what is potentialy dangerous? Life lived to the whole human potential or life unlived behind the precautions implied by preconceived (= usually false) ideas?

I do not think the situation is all that exaggerated. Would you call anybody on this Earth nowadays a savage? Yet that was a normal term at that time (I suppose). And who said Queequeg was a canibal? But he was certainly called that although he was a prince. That just about frames the Christians as bullies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200704:50 AM

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reposted-ignore this

[ Edited ]
I reposted my reply under proper heading.
ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200705:08 AM

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? Father Mapple's Sermon

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote:
Frankly I did not know what to make of Father Marple's sermon.


Anyone care to take this subject on? The setting is New England, after all, and Melville is cognizant of a two century history of hellfire and brimstone sermons that have damned successive generations of Americans all the while exalting them as God's new chosen people. Father Maple's sermon is where Melville makes his mark on this history.





---------

leakybucket wrote:
I have been pondering Father Mapple's Sermon (I also didn't know that protestant ministers used "father" trying to decide the point or lesson being conveyed. Other than the fact it is a nice parallel whale story from the Bible and appropriate for a sermon in a book on whales, I'm not really sure.

One thing I mentioned back in Chapter 1 (Loomings) was that it was the directive issued by Father Mapple to "preach the truth in the face of falsehood" that Ishmael was following in telling his story.

Another thought was the very quotable "if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves." It could be that Ahab following his own obsession was disobeying the will of God. But I don't see where God has indicated His will in this story. Or maybe there is something in the sermon I missed that defines this.

Since Melville seems to be cynical of things maybe he considers a false ship pulpit in a land bound church (especially one more realistically displaying plaques commemorating the deaths of seamen) is an false place for receiving practical advice for true life and death situations at sea. The sermon is just a convenient Biblical story about whales with some nice sounding conclusions made by Father Mapple "full of sound and fury signifying nothing."

I would be interested to what others have to say about this sermon.

-------

ziki:

Neither I was sure what exactly to make out of that chapter in the context of the book so far apart of the sentence you also mentioned here and it's meaning " we obey God, we must disobey ourselves" which was pretty clear.

I just stayed with the enjoyment of how it is written: the urge...It felt like melville takes my by hand and leads me to the church with ishmael. he doesn't tell, he shows. what I make out of it (life) is up to me. In this case there was juxtaposition of two different religious rituals.

Queequeg goes to the Christian church so it is natural that Ishmael also later joins in Q's religious practice. Both are just rituals. Same same but different.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200703:15 PM

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Re: All that whaling lore



Choisya wrote:
Ziki: I believe that Melville really wanted to write non-fiction containing his political and personal philosophies but he found that these essays/books did not sell and so he decided to turn to fiction and put his ideas over in a different way. It (eventually) worked! (Ilana will be able to expand on this but I think I am roughly correct - I don't have my book Notes by me at present:smileyhappy:)




aha, interesting, will Ilana join in here, too?

ziki
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marx,platon



Choisya wrote: Marx said 'only the artist is free'



I like that but the artist is also a slave of the culture, caught up in the cauldron of his own lifetime, imbibed with milk...this gets us quickly to Plato and the Cave...LOL.

ziki
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Re: making ourselves start to converse

[ Edited ]
Georgie-

I think it was interesting that their demeanor was so unlike people that kill whales. It may have stemmed from simple(?)work ethics- they had a job to do. I think it looks like you put it together for yourself with the previous quotes you mentioned.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 12-31-200611:30 PM

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sinfulness



fanuzzir wrote:I like this too. Melville is making it so clear that all our working lives are really an expression of our mortality, if not our sinfulness. He finds the depths of religion in our most mundane activities.




I can't assemble the puzzle properly but this theme of sinfulness would relate to the Mapple's sermon chapter...

ziki
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Re: right or wrong



ziki wrote:

matthieu_78741 wrote: I'm simply saying one has to be able to discern between right and wrong, safe relationships and potentially dangerous ones, and take precautions to ensure life.

I don't think Melville expects us to believe head selling, doll worshiping, or cannibalism are acceptable behaviors. It seems more like he's created an exaggerated cultural barrier to force the reader to reconcile it with Qeequeg's loyalty and compassion. He's saying there is a good man, a loyal friend, beyond what his culture has taught him - right or wrong as it might be.




But who is to decide what is right or wrong? That is also a question posed to us by this text.

Moreover, what is potentialy dangerous? Life lived to the whole human potential or life unlived behind the precautions implied by preconceived (= usually false) ideas?

I do not think the situation is all that exaggerated. Would you call anybody on this Earth nowadays a savage? Yet that was a normal term at that time (I suppose). And who said Queequeg was a canibal? But he was certainly called that although he was a prince. That just about frames the Christians as bullies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200704:50 AM






I understand what he's getting at here.

Why shouldn't a person be cautious out of self-protection? The situation, as described in the book, could easily have gone the other way. Personally, I'd rather be a careful person than to be a naively stupid one. If I'd been Ishmael in the bedroom scenario, I would have been uncomfortable as well. Unfortunately, I know that I just can't trust strangers all the time, no matter how great it may sound. The world isn't made that way. In a perfect civilization (Utopia, if you will) ~ there would be no need for caution... but this is still the real world. What I do agree with is that Queequeg's race should NOT have had any bearing on the matter... Ishmael should have been equally careful if his roomate was an "American White Christian" than a "cannibal."

Unfortunately, cultural divisions do exist... that was (is) one of Melville's main points in MD. But the fact that Ishmael and Queequeg move past these "first impressions" to become fast friends is the whole point of the story.
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Re: Moby Dick: Fanuzzir: Ishmael meets Queequeg - homo-eroticism.



Choisya wrote:
I was not suggesting that it was a homosexual relationship but that the writing is homo-erotic, as the italicised phrases in my quote show. There is a difference between homo-eroticism, homosexual behaviour and homosexuality. I am sure there have been other comments on this aspect over the years. I wonder if Fanuzzir has further comments on this?




Laurel wrote:
I agree with you entirely. I don't think there's anything homosexual about this story.



leakybucket wrote:
I watched Whale Rider last night, which had an interesting relevance to Moby Dick. In this movie the men showed a great deal of affection toward one another and would hug each other very warmly and closely and then touch their foreheads together. People would probably assume a sexual relationship if such and encounter occurred in public in the US. But this was not part of it at all. This was another culture where such demonstrations were perfectly natural and spontaneous.

I did not see anything sexual in Queequeg and Ishmael's relationship. It was a spontaneous demonstration of their affection and comfortable relationship with each other.





I don't see any homo-eroticism here, either. I think (esp. in today's society) we always think sex has to come into the equation somewhere! (Thanks to Freud and his ilk, probably!) I think the manner in which Melville describes the relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg is painted as one of affection ~nothing more... not homo-erotic.
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Choisya
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Re: All that whaling lore

Sorry, I mean Fanuzzir:smileyhappy:




ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Ziki: I believe that Melville really wanted to write non-fiction containing his political and personal philosophies but he found that these essays/books did not sell and so he decided to turn to fiction and put his ideas over in a different way. It (eventually) worked! (Ilana will be able to expand on this but I think I am roughly correct - I don't have my book Notes by me at present:smileyhappy:)




aha, interesting, will Ilana join in here, too?

ziki


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Choisya
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Re: making ourselves start to converse

[ Edited ]
There has been recent research indicating that women really do talk more than men - surprise! surprise! And apparently there are reasons:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=419040&in_page_id=1879


Americans are considered 'noisy' by Brits, although I think we are also becoming less reserved than formerly due to the influence of other cultures. People in the South of England are also more reserved than those in the North. The 'polite' influence of the King's/Queen's court and patronage has long been felt in the Home Counties (around London). Mobile 'phones seem set to change the quieter nature of all societies though as people seem to talk loudly on them 24/7!


book-nut wrote:


Choisya wrote:
I can't speak for Americans but Brits would rarely talk in a boarding house/hotel situation at breakfast or any other time and if they did so they would do it in whispers:smileyhappy: Everyone could hear your conversation! Dreadful! Choisya,

I know exactly what you mean. I consider myself very reserved ~ for an American, anyway! When I went to Europe I actually felt more comfortable in some ways than I do in the US (Weird because I'm 6th generation American). My ancestors were from Ireland and Britain, and came here in the late 1600's - early 1700's.
With most Americans, these days anyway and especially in my area of the US, it's a "let it all hang out" type mentality. I am not comfortable with strangers overall. I found Brits a lot more reserved, more like me.

Let's not forget the gender issues here. How about the man vs. woman thing? These are all men - no women are present at breakfast. Most men are notoriously bad at small talk. Women love to talk, about anything and everything. Men don't. (With exceptions, of course!) But for most men, the less said the better! If there's something to be said, they'll say it. Otherwise, forget it...

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-01-200703:21 AM

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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: Fanuzzir: Ishmael meets Queequeg - homo-eroticism.

[ Edited ]
Booknut - you may have missed this response by Fanuzzir our Moderator to my post about homo-eroticism between Ishmael & Queequeg:-

'Yes Choisya, there is a cottage industry of homosexual critiques, the most famous being Leslie Fiedler's Love and Death in the American Novel. And there is both a conceptual and historical distinction to be made between all the terms you used; I'll throw in "homosocial," which refers to male friendships that have erotic and intimate meanings but do not categorize sexuality as separate, distinct, or distinguishing.
Something of the latter is at work here: surely Melville is playing with our exoticism regarding homosexuality and "savagery," or else he wouldn't have put the "marriage" in quotes as an anthropological custom. It's part of Melville's project of putting the truly intimate, meaningful things of this novel off shore, away from the familiar and easily satirized American setting.

For me, the most significance chapter on this subject is Chapter 13, "Wheelbarrow," where the two are the object of "jeers" for displaying their friendship, whatever it is, in public. Are they marginalized for being gay (not bloody likely--exclusive male friendships were the rule) or inter-racial? On the other hand, Ishamel sure comes to Queeqeg's defense like he is the only one in a position to truly know his virtues. . . .

Then there's the public nature of their friendship, always a parable for "coming out" but here not as obvious. Everyone snickers when the two share a bed in private, but they go about their business; they jeer when they appear as friends in public.
12-22-2006 10:01 PM '

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-01-200703:32 AM

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