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chad
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Whale song

There are some websites which have recorded whale songs. I thought I'd bring it up because Moby seems to contradict the history of information we have about whales and whalesongs. Information about whalesong was not known until the 1970's? It's possible that only Melville and the whalers knew that whales "sing" and that whalesong semmed to connect an entire population. Information about whales may have died with the whaling industry.

Chad
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Laurel
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Re: ? chapter 23- Bulkington



ziki wrote:
...."this six inch chapter is the stoneless grave of Bulkington"....


I need some help with this chapter. I do not understand what is meant by this. How did you interpret this chapter?

ziki




It's a foreshadowing that Bulkington is going to die at sea, and thus have no stone to mark his grave. This little chapter, six inches deep as originally set for the book, is his only monument.

We met Bulkington in chapter 3, in Coffin's inn:

I observed, however, that one of them held somewhat aloof, and though he seemed desirous not to spoil the hilarity of his shipmates by his own sober face, yet upon the whole he refrained from making as much noise as the rest. This man interested me at once; and since the sea-gods had ordained that he should soon become my shipmate (though but a sleeping-partner one, so far as this narrative is concerned), I will here venture upon a little description of him. He stood full six feet in height, with noble shoulders, and a chest like a coffer-dam. I have seldom seen such brawn in a man. His face was deeply brown and burnt, making his white teeth dazzling by the contrast; while in the deep shadows of his eyes floated some reminiscences that did not seem to give him much joy. His voice at once announced that he was a Southerner, and from his fine stature, I thought he must be one of those tall mountaineers from the Alleghanian Ridge in Virginia. When the revelry of his companions had mounted to its height, this man slipped away unobserved, and I saw no more of him till he became my comrade on the sea. In a few minutes, however, he was missed by his shipmates, and being, it seems, for some reason a huge favourite with them, they raised a cry of "Bulkington! Bulkington! where's Bulkington?" and darted out of the house in pursuit of him.

I think that's all we'll ever know of him. In one of the films, though, I seem to remember he's shown early on falling from the mast.
"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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Laurel
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Re: Whale song



chad wrote:
There are some websites which have recorded whale songs. I thought I'd bring it up because Moby seems to contradict the history of information we have about whales and whalesongs. Information about whalesong was not known until the 1970's? It's possible that only Melville and the whalers knew that whales "sing" and that whalesong semmed to connect an entire population. Information about whales may have died with the whaling industry.

Chad




What chapter are you talking about, Chad?

By the way, you can listen to some of the song here:

http://www.whalesong.net/
"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: Whale song

Apparently some whales can be heard by the human ear and different species of whales make different sounds, some we can hear, some we cannot. Here is a comment about 19thC whalers hearing Beluga whales:-

'In my book The Charged Border I wrote about an experience listening to beluga whales vocalize. Belugas were called sea canaries by 19th century whalers for the way they chirp and chortle among their own kind. Many beluga calls are audible to a human ear. They are also among the few cetacean species to naturally vocalize in air. Listening to them vocalize to one another at Lancaster Sound in the Canadian High Arctic, the discourse reminded me of a raucous party heard through the walls of an apartment building. I intuited that the revelers were indeed talking coherently to one another, although individual words could not be discerned.

The implications of a whale language are profound. In a way, demonstrating that language is not a unique talent of the human intellect, is akin to Copernicus showing that the universe did not revolve around the Earth. How tragic that we have finally found ET, alive and well and living in the Arctic, and the only thing we know to do with this intelligent being is kill it for sport and dice a bit of its blubber into cubes for snacking.' (Jim Nollman)





chad wrote:
There are some websites which have recorded whale songs. I thought I'd bring it up because Moby seems to contradict the history of information we have about whales and whalesongs. Information about whalesong was not known until the 1970's? It's possible that only Melville and the whalers knew that whales "sing" and that whalesong semmed to connect an entire population. Information about whales may have died with the whaling industry.

Chad


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Re: balancing evangelism and freedom

[ Edited ]
georgie posted:
chapter 17 i have no objection to any persons religion, be what it may, so
long as that persons religion does not kill or insult any other person,
because that other person does not believe it also. but when a mans religion
becomes really fanatic, when it is a positive torment to him, and in fine
makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in, then i think it
high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.
------
The interestting part here is to see this in the total context of the book....Queequeg was just sitting silently in the room, disturbing nobody but it was Ishmael who's mind again run amok and who finally busted the door and whamzoomed in....it's so typical. You can't blame Queequeg for it, yet we happily do. Ishmael decides to talk sense to him. Instead he should meditate on his own actions and reasons to it. :-)

As it happens I once heard a man (a colleague) telling the same story.In his case he was jealous of his girl friend and he had an idea that she was unfaithful to him. He tried to call her but she didn't answer the phone. So he went to her place (they were not married) and he did the 'Ishmael trick'...and there she was peacefully sitting on a sofa, reading a book, staring at him in a surprise as he plumeted into the room. He admited that he felt pretty stupid in that moment and considered himself cured from jealousy ever after that.

Again it is about what Ishmael can or cannot tolerate. A few pages ago he said leave him alone, but all of a sudden he again reached a new level of intollerance. Queequeg was not doing any harm or disturbing anybody, why to take him aside?

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200711:41 PM

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Choisya
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Re: balancing evangelism and freedom

Your empty posts are so very wise ziki - they are like rest bars on a sheet of music:smileyhappy:
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georgie
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Re: Father's Mapple's Sermon

>I have been pondering Father Mapple's Sermon...trying to decide the point or lesson >being conveyed...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

Here is an idea I have: Suppose you are a seaman back from a whaling voyage. You have just spent years of hard labor in an uncomfortbale, crowded, smelly and dangerous enviornmnet for little pay. What is going to make you sign up for another such voyage unless its the fear of God? I think this is often the reason that military units often have clergy available, to comfort and convict the combatants that what they are doing is right and their duty.
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ok-Bulkington

IN B&N edition there was a reference exactly back to that chapter you quoted....Ok thanks I read on...

ziki
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silent men



book-nut wrote: But for most men, the less said the better! If there's something to be said, they'll say it. Otherwise, forget it...




LOL, right on. BTW wouldn't you say that Bob F. here is unusually talkative? ;-)

ziki
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more Reading Questions

Reader's Guide Moby Dick

1. What is the significance of the whale? What do you think Melville intends in developing such a vicious antagonism between Ahab and the whale?

2. How does the presence of Queequeg, particularly his status as a "savage," inform the novel? How does Melville depict this cultural clash?

3. How does whaling as an industry function metaphorically throughout the novel? Where does man fit in in this scenario?

4. Melville explores the divide between evil and virtue, justice and vengeance throughout the novel. What, ultimately, is his conclusion? What is Ahab's?

5. What do you think of the role, if any, played by religion in the novel? Do you think religious conventions are replaced or subverted in some way? Discuss.

6. Discuss the novel's philosophical subtext. How does this contribute to the basic plot involving Ahab's search for the whale? Is this Ishmael's purpose in the novel?

7. Discuss the role of women in the novel. What does their conspicuous absence mean in the overall context of the novel?
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Choisya
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Re: Father's Mapple's Sermon

This does not take into account that there were many pagans in the ship's company and their attitudes towards their gods may have been less fearful. Would Queequeg have understood story of Jonah and the Whale. He has a gaze of 'incredulous curiosity' whilst in the chapel. Men like those we are reading about go to sea because it is the trade to which they were born and they know no other. It is where they earn money to send home to their wives and children. They enjoy the danger, the camaraderie. Men are drawn to the sea irrespective of its dangers. My mother's family were trawlermen in the North Sea - one of the most dangerous seas in the world. They loved the hard life they led and couldn't wait to get back to it when they were home. At least three of her 8 brothers were atheists and only one of them went to church. Yes, the military have clergy available but we do not know how many soldiers avail themselves of their services. British sailors may be as sceptical at sea as their compatriots are on land. There are also many stories of the experiences of war making men lose their faith - as with some of the war poets of WWI. And why would 'fear' of god be likely to sign up for another voyage? Melville himself is said to have lost his Calvinish faith whilst at sea.

IMO the chapel, its imagery and Father Mapple's sermon prepare Ishmael and the reader for the horrors that are to come. He directs his listeners to speak truth in the face of falsehood, which foreshadows the story of Jonah-Ahab, pain, suffering and redemption which Ishmael is now telling us.




georgie wrote:
>I have been pondering Father Mapple's Sermon...trying to decide the point or lesson >being conveyed...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

Here is an idea I have: Suppose you are a seaman back from a whaling voyage. You have just spent years of hard labor in an uncomfortbale, crowded, smelly and dangerous enviornmnet for little pay. What is going to make you sign up for another such voyage unless its the fear of God? I think this is often the reason that military units often have clergy available, to comfort and convict the combatants that what they are doing is right and their duty.


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Choisya
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Re: balancing evangelism and freedom

And would Ishmael have burst in if he had thought that Ishmael was communing with a Christian god? Isn't it another example of distrusting the 'other'?




ziki wrote:
georgie posted:
chapter 17 i have no objection to any persons religion, be what it may, so
long as that persons religion does not kill or insult any other person,
because that other person does not believe it also. but when a mans religion
becomes really fanatic, when it is a positive torment to him, and in fine
makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in, then i think it
high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.
------
The interestting part here is to see this in the total context of the book....Queequeg was just sitting silently in the room, disturbing nobody but it was Ishmael who's mind again run amok and who finally busted the door and whamzoomed in....it's so typical. You can't blame Queequeg for it, yet we happily do. Ishmael decides to talk sense to him. Instead he should meditate on his own actions and reasons to it. :-)

As it happens I once heard a man (a colleague) telling the same story.In his case he was jealous of his girl friend and he had an idea that she was unfaithful to him. He tried to call her but she didn't answer the phone. So he went to her place (they were not married) and he did the 'Ishmael trick'...and there she was peacefully sitting on a sofa, reading a book, staring at him in a surprise as he plumeted into the room. He admited that he felt pretty stupid in that moment and considered himself cured from jealousy ever after that.

Again it is about what Ishmael can or cannot tolerate. A few pages ago he said leave him alone, but all of a sudden he again reached a new level of intollerance. Queequeg was not doing any harm or disturbing anybody, why to take him aside?

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200711:41 PM




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chad
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Re: Whale song

Thanks Choisya:

I wonder if there is anything else from the 19th century on whale song. I'll have to continue reading Moby, of course. The environmental movement of the 60's may have lead to renewed interest in whale behavior.

Chad
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chad
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Re: Whale song

[ Edited ]
Thanks for the website. I'm only on chapter 5. I'm not sure I can point out any chapter in particular, but I think Melville is building a comparison between whales and people. I'm also trying to find Jim Croce's "Operator" on the web for free- It also fits in with Moby, but it's just a great tune.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 01-01-200711:46 PM

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? fear of God a cause to ship



georgie wrote: Suppose you are a seaman back from a whaling voyage. You have just spent years of hard labor in an uncomfortbale, crowded, smelly and dangerous enviornmnet for little pay. What is going to make you sign up for another such voyage unless its the fear of God?




Hi, would you mind to expound a little?

Thanks
ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Chad : Whale song

[ Edited ]
The renewed interest may have stemmed from scientist's ability to record the songs underwater etc. I remember buying a record in 1970 of Judy Collins' 'Whales & Nightingales' which had a track on it of an old song called 'Farewell to Tarwathie' with whale song in the background. Whale songs became very popular and I seem to date the commercial recordings since that time, although scientists were recording them in the 1960s (below). It was commercial song recordings which aroused interest in whales and helped to lead to the banning of whale hunting in 1966. It was estimated that there were 300,000 blue whales in the oceans in the 19C but their numbers had dwindled to a few thousand by the 1960s:smileysad:

http://www.oceanalliance.org/oceanalliance/rogerpayne_letter.html

There is also a long history of songs sung by the whalers about their experiences and about whales:-

http://www.oceanalliance.org/oceanalliance/rogerpayne_letter.html

Here is a very moving Greenpeace website on whales which includes a video of whales singing and dreadful footage of a whale being killed.:smileysad::smileysad:

http://whales.greenpeace.org/global

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-02-200706:28 AM

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Re: Whale song



chad wrote:
Thanks Choisya:

I wonder if there is anything else from the 19th century on whale song. I'll have to continue reading Moby, of course. The environmental movement of the 60's may have lead to renewed interest in whale behavior.

Chad




Maybe the whales were not communicating about same things/in the same way in 1850 and 1960...maybe their sounds changed...what do we know?

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Whale song

that is a very interesting thought ziki. Our language has changed so why not the whales? And I wonder if they say to each other 'this ocean is much more pulluted than it was when I was young'?:smileyhappy:




ziki wrote:


chad wrote:
Thanks Choisya:

I wonder if there is anything else from the 19th century on whale song. I'll have to continue reading Moby, of course. The environmental movement of the 60's may have lead to renewed interest in whale behavior.

Chad




Maybe the whales were not communicating about same things/in the same way in 1850 and 1960...maybe their sounds changed...what do we know?

ziki


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fanuzzir
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Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Inns



Katelyn wrote:

fanuzzir wrote:
Melville coined the term "isolotoe" to explain his character. I see this as well, but I can't square that with jovial convivality he enjoys with Queequeg, who, significantly, is "other" by definition. Why is this person his only friend?


It is possible the solitudes would be draw to those that are "other" as their "otherness" mirrors their own (albeit in different ways). I agree Ishmael is quite sociable in his own way, but he seems to move away from "normal" civilized life to the fringes which are more enlivening (and thus his people).

PS: I am only on Chapter 9 or 10 so I may not have a very well rounded picture of Ishmael's character yet.

Message Edited by Katelyn on 12-30-200611:14 PM

Message Edited by Katelyn on 12-30-200611:15 PM






I see many of the same dynamics here. Ishmael needs to be disengaged to some extent to be a narrator--he needs to see things from a "masthead" viewpoint. On the other hand, he leaves no space between Queequeg and himself--there is not another more touching evocation of male intimacy in literature I think. I agree that he needs the foreign perspective of Queeqeg as a safety valve for his own isolation . . .
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fanuzzir
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Re: outsider



ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:
Melville coined the term "isolotoe" to explain his character. I see this as well, but I can't square that with jovial convivality he enjoys with Queequeg, who, significantly, is "other" by definition. Why is this person his only friend?




During the first evening when the sailors flooded the bar Ishmael was in a position of an observer. He was outside of what was happening. It sounded like his own active choice. But it is also a feeling of being an outsider ina situation. it doesn't necessarily mean he is strange but it depicts the feeling of not fitting in that we all can have in a social situation o rin whole life for that part.

Technically it is also fortified by the other man at the bar who is quieter, somehow different and slips away and whom Ishmael noticed at once.

ziki


Ziki, I think that's when his narration is at its strongest--when he's arch, in control of himself, generous and playfully mocking toward the people he sees through the other end of a telescope .
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