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fanuzzir
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Creation and Destruction



ziki wrote:
He lost the leg three times.....again the magic number 3. He is being immobilized over and over again but he fights it, he doesn't want to give up. He's not prepared to loose his potence.

I do not know, please enlighten me, but it seems like men generally equal let go with giving up and loss of power. Add to it the sea=she who will swallow him up, I say ack!

There's a difference I feel: giving up= you're a piece of dead wood, letting go= you still splash and enjoy the ride and make waves. Can that get more sexual (in New Englad)? Nature has its ways to play.

Man's relation to life is creative: creation involves destruction but is not ONLY the destructive drive that pulls. I think Melville's sense-moral is just that evil will not win, like in any other fairy tale.

ziki
now that was a strange train of thoughts...hmmm.

Message Edited by ziki on 02-01-200708:34 PM




You and Freud, Ziki: the entire human experience, the good doctor writes, is a contest between the death and destructive instinct and life, creative, procreative forces. I think the phallus is supposed to fall on the latter side, but Melville is more political, so he sees men with potency as dangerous in their own right.
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Re: Creation and Destruction-there's also a maintenance stage between

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote:You and Freud, Ziki: the entire human experience, the good doctor writes, is a contest between the death and destructive instinct and life, creative, procreative forces. I think the phallus is supposed to fall on the latter side, but Melville is more political, so he sees men with potency as dangerous in their own right.




rewind:
He lost the leg three times.....again the magic number 3. He is being immobilized over and over again but he fights it, he doesn't want to give up. He's not prepared to loose his potence.
---------
I am not sure that I want to mix Freud into this...BTW he didn't exactly get away with that theory.

Anyhow, I do not know what I was thinking but I meant Ahab was not willing let go because he equals it with giving up...and I stated boldly that men mix those two things up and I wondered why.

then you said: Melville is more political, so he sees men with potency as dangerous in their own right.

And now I am confused.....



ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-03-200707:44 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Creation and Destruction-there's also a maintenance stage between

I just meant that Freud considers anything with a phallus good in the long run. Even if that thing is a little libidinous and chaotic, it still wants to create life. (Like Dionysus in Greek mythology.) Then there is the destructive impulse. I don't remember whether Freud says that comes from the phallus too. It could be. I realize I will be retreating to my old copy of Civilization and its Discontents for the answer.

I do think that Melville was suspicous of phalluses (short for men with power) in general. His idea of a man were two men shacked up. With tattoes.
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Choisya
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Re: Creation and Destruction-there's also a maintenance stage between

And this is perhaps something we too have come to be suspicious of when we seek 'the new man' and tell men to 'get in touch with their feminine side'. That he 'shacked up' with tattoed men (and women) in the Marquesas and wrote about the superiority of that simple life over the one his countrymen were leading is another example of his turning his back on the phallus - even though he came back with many tales of his sexual encounters with island women:smileyhappy: However, some things I have read about Melville, some in MD, leads me to question his sexuality and to wonder whether the homosexual/homo-erotic nature of life at sea was, in fact, his preference, but one which could not be expressed in his times.




fanuzzir wrote:
I just meant that Freud considers anything with a phallus good in the long run. Even if that thing is a little libidinous and chaotic, it still wants to create life. (Like Dionysus in Greek mythology.) Then there is the destructive impulse. I don't remember whether Freud says that comes from the phallus too. It could be. I realize I will be retreating to my old copy of Civilization and its Discontents for the answer.

I do think that Melville was suspicous of phalluses (short for men with power) in general. His idea of a man were two men shacked up. With tattoes.


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donyskiw
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Re: "The intense Pequod"

I think we've exhausted this conversation!!

Denise



fanuzzir wrote:


donyskiw wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:
So when Ahab loses a peg at the end it fortells the end of the ship as well. Anyone see phallic symbolism here?


Laurel wrote:
Good catches, Denise!



donyskiw wrote:
Even before we see Ahab as part of the ship there are allusions to him being a ship: his losing a leg is referred to him as being "dismasted" and his wooden leg is referred to as a "spar". Then he later merges into the ship.











No, I missed the phallic symbolism, probably because I was concerned when he kept worrying about getting poked in the groin by the artificial limb!

Denise




I can't write so well when I'm laughing so hard . . .


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Anab and Pip



Choisya wrote: However, some things I have read about Melville, some in MD, leads me to question his sexuality and to wonder whether the homosexual/homo-erotic nature of life at sea was, in fact, his preference, but one which could not be expressed in his times.






Sexuality on ships....you brought that issue up earlier and we didn't take that line further. I would zoom on Ahab and Pip. I sure wondered I can say.It looked like Ahab protected him.

(Ahem...we have a pedofile living in the neighbourhood and we need to stay alert here...but that is another thing).

Now, the beauty with this book is that we can mold it in any wy we want (like a clay) and see what shape it takes, then reshape it etc. In that process we can discover quite a lot.

ziki
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Ahab's whale leg

[ Edited ]

donyskiw wrote:
I think we've exhausted this conversation!!

Denise





I am not sure because I am actually still puzzled by the way Melville handled the whole leg episod.

Ahab is so mystically ill before and after he boards the ship...then Melville finally spills the beans much later and we finally get to know Ahab was stuck in the groin by his own whale leg. Yes that is what I mean: his own whale leg...did he need a whale to walk on? Did he need a whale to feel like somebody?

but anyhow why did he puncture himself, or why did fate puncture him. It is still a mystery to me. Is Melville trying to layer that Ahab destroyed himself or what? I do not quite get it, I am sorry to say.

This is a mighty weird book!
Now what with his damned leg?

LOL
ziki

PS

gossip:
I got to tell you...moby wave all over BN....there is a lady on the Shakespeare board that buys her purse(s) by fitting in her leather bound Moby-Dick book in it in order to be sure that the purse will always be the right size so that she can carry what she needs. That is cool.

BTW I renamed us there for 'mobydickers', just that you know...LOL

Message Edited by ziki on 02-06-200712:37 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Anab and Pip


ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote: I would zoom on Ahab and Pip

ziki






The relationship between the master of the ship and his personal servant or attendant is certainly the most hierarchical on ship but also the most intimate. It also happens to meet the requirements for "Platonic love" (not asexual, as you would think) as imagined by Socrates and to elicit Ahab's most tender asides.
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KatieAudrey
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Re: Anab and Pip



ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote: However, some things I have read about Melville, some in MD, leads me to question his sexuality and to wonder whether the homosexual/homo-erotic nature of life at sea was, in fact, his preference, but one which could not be expressed in his times.






Sexuality on ships....you brought that issue up earlier and we didn't take that line further. I would zoom on Ahab and Pip. I sure wondered I can say.It looked like Ahab protected him.

(Ahem...we have a pedofile living in the neighbourhood and we need to stay alert here...but that is another thing).

Now, the beauty with this book is that we can mold it in any wy we want (like a clay) and see what shape it takes, then reshape it etc. In that process we can discover quite a lot.

ziki





Hi I'm new here so please don't be too harsh on me and my opinions about this book. I'm a junior in high school and we're reading this for AP Lit. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I wasn't forced to read it and if I had more time to read it, but I still really like the book and I hope to re-read it later.

What you said about the novel being something you can mold into whatever you want is an interesting insight and I agree completely. Each generation interprets this book differently, Melville's generation didn't like it too much and no one really noticed it until the 40's when movies were inspired by the story. Ever since then it's been considered a work of art but each generation interprets the meaning of the book differently. Many aspects of the book, such as the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael, can be interpreted a myriad of ways. Many people in our generation believe Queequeg and Ishmael are homosexual because of several chapters in the beginning of the book that portrayed them as husband and wife or bosom friends. Perhaps Melville was trying to push the limits of society in his day (which in the 1800's was not very open about sex) and therefore purposely hinted at a homosexual relationship or maybe he did not mean to hint that at all. Queequeg and Ishmael later became ship mates on a life changing voyage, there is reasons for them to be so close (especially since isolation drove Ahab insane). What I'm trying to say is that just because Ishmael and Queequeg were close doesn't mean they were homosexual. Also, just because Melville and Hawthorne wrote seemingly homosexual letters to each other doesn’t mean Melville was gay and therefore purposely created homosexual relationships to write about in Moby Dick, but it could be true. As they say, "anything is possible" (yes, I know, very cliché and Orwell would not like it but I don't care too much, to be honest).

I'm going out on a limb about things I’m saying so if I'm totally wrong about anything, kindly tell me. Thanks.
"It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
that let us bet when you know we should fold.
On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
and the whole mess of roads we're now on.
Hold your glass up, hold it in
never betray the way you've always known it is."
-the Shins
"Accident rules every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart."
-Snow Falling on Cedars
"We'll keep working on the problem
We know we'll never solve
Of love's uneven remainders
Our lives are fractions of a whole
But if the world could remain within a frame
Like a painting on a wall
Then I think we'd see the beauty then
And stand staring in awe
At our still lives posed
Like a bowl of oranges
Like a story told
By the fault lines and the soil."
-Bright Eyes
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Laurel
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Katie

Good thoughts, Katie. Keep at it.



KatieAudrey wrote:


Hi I'm new here so please don't be too harsh on me and my opinions about this book. I'm a junior in high school and we're reading this for AP Lit. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I wasn't forced to read it and if I had more time to read it, but I still really like the book and I hope to re-read it later.

What you said about the novel being something you can mold into whatever you want is an interesting insight and I agree completely. Each generation interprets this book differently, Melville's generation didn't like it too much and no one really noticed it until the 40's when movies were inspired by the story. Ever since then it's been considered a work of art but each generation interprets the meaning of the book differently. Many aspects of the book, such as the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael, can be interpreted a myriad of ways. Many people in our generation believe Queequeg and Ishmael are homosexual because of several chapters in the beginning of the book that portrayed them as husband and wife or bosom friends. Perhaps Melville was trying to push the limits of society in his day (which in the 1800's was not very open about sex) and therefore purposely hinted at a homosexual relationship or maybe he did not mean to hint that at all. Queequeg and Ishmael later became ship mates on a life changing voyage, there is reasons for them to be so close (especially since isolation drove Ahab insane). What I'm trying to say is that just because Ishmael and Queequeg were close doesn't mean they were homosexual. Also, just because Melville and Hawthorne wrote seemingly homosexual letters to each other doesn’t mean Melville was gay and therefore purposely created homosexual relationships to write about in Moby Dick, but it could be true. As they say, "anything is possible" (yes, I know, very cliché and Orwell would not like it but I don't care too much, to be honest).

I'm going out on a limb about things I’m saying so if I'm totally wrong about anything, kindly tell me. Thanks.


"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: Ahab and Pip, Ishmael & Queegqueg

Hi KatieAudrey and Welcome! Great post and nothing wrong about it at all. We will all look forward to more although most of those here are now embarked on other voyages around other books:smileyhappy:

I don't think we have implied actal homosexuality here, more homo-eroticism or homosexual behaviour such as often happens when men are together for long stretches, like at sea. Given what we now know about ships, prisons, the army etc it would be very surprising if there were no homosexual behaviour on board the Pequod (or on the ship in which Melville journeyed to the South Seas) and the only real hint of it is between Ishmael and Queequeg. This does not, however, make them homosexuals - not that it would matter if they were - but many heterosexual men behave in a homosexual way in these sort of situations. I am not a homophobe and do not wish to malign Melville in any way by writing this. I see it more as a fact of life.

I did not see the Ahab-Pip relationship as a paedophiliac one because the boy was not in his cabin from the start of the voyage but only when he became insane and after Ahab had made the long speech to Starbuck about his wife and son: 'Starbuck let me look into a human eye...this is the magic glass man; I see my wife and my child in thine eye...' I saw his relationship with Pip more as a fatherly one, wherein he regretted leaving his own son whilst he went to sea and sought to give Pip the sort of fatherly concern he had not shown before. It was part of what I termed his anagnorisis - recognition/realisation.




KatieAudrey wrote:


ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote: However, some things I have read about Melville, some in MD, leads me to question his sexuality and to wonder whether the homosexual/homo-erotic nature of life at sea was, in fact, his preference, but one which could not be expressed in his times.






Sexuality on ships....you brought that issue up earlier and we didn't take that line further. I would zoom on Ahab and Pip. I sure wondered I can say.It looked like Ahab protected him.

(Ahem...we have a pedofile living in the neighbourhood and we need to stay alert here...but that is another thing).

Now, the beauty with this book is that we can mold it in any wy we want (like a clay) and see what shape it takes, then reshape it etc. In that process we can discover quite a lot.

ziki





Hi I'm new here so please don't be too harsh on me and my opinions about this book. I'm a junior in high school and we're reading this for AP Lit. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I wasn't forced to read it and if I had more time to read it, but I still really like the book and I hope to re-read it later.

What you said about the novel being something you can mold into whatever you want is an interesting insight and I agree completely. Each generation interprets this book differently, Melville's generation didn't like it too much and no one really noticed it until the 40's when movies were inspired by the story. Ever since then it's been considered a work of art but each generation interprets the meaning of the book differently. Many aspects of the book, such as the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael, can be interpreted a myriad of ways. Many people in our generation believe Queequeg and Ishmael are homosexual because of several chapters in the beginning of the book that portrayed them as husband and wife or bosom friends. Perhaps Melville was trying to push the limits of society in his day (which in the 1800's was not very open about sex) and therefore purposely hinted at a homosexual relationship or maybe he did not mean to hint that at all. Queequeg and Ishmael later became ship mates on a life changing voyage, there is reasons for them to be so close (especially since isolation drove Ahab insane). What I'm trying to say is that just because Ishmael and Queequeg were close doesn't mean they were homosexual. Also, just because Melville and Hawthorne wrote seemingly homosexual letters to each other doesn’t mean Melville was gay and therefore purposely created homosexual relationships to write about in Moby Dick, but it could be true. As they say, "anything is possible" (yes, I know, very cliché and Orwell would not like it but I don't care too much, to be honest).

I'm going out on a limb about things I’m saying so if I'm totally wrong about anything, kindly tell me. Thanks.


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fanuzzir
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Gay men or homosexual acts?

We can't really categorize people by sexual identity in this historical era: there was simply too much fluidity in sex roles to make sexual orientation a meaningful category. Aristocratic married men, for instance, might partake of sex acts with men as part of a cross-class experimentation, not a sexual one. Sex was further defined by urban locality or district, so that the wharves were a place where men could be with men, while poorer neighbhorhood like New York's old Five Points (where now is Police Plaza) where areas where one might find inter-racial liaisons. None of this had the slightest effect on your essential identity--sex was what you did, or where you went, not who you were. (The same goes for shipboard life; married men understood the opportunities for masculine intimacy quite clearly.) Two more things to consider: Freud was amazingly brilliant and destructive in taking sex from a public setting and socially opportunistic set of behaviours and burrowing it into your innermost unconscious. And secondly, the category of homosexuality came first, to designate a kind of "inversion," as they called it. Heterosexual came second, almost as an afterthought.
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male friendhips

[ Edited ]
Hi Katie, I am thinking very hard how I could be harsh....I am not coming up with any solutions right now ;-)

Well kudos for reading the book under such conditions. If it wasn't for the BN corner I would have let it rest at least another century.

I am glad you bring up the idea of male friendship. (I had a post somewhere else and I do not think we got there.) I pretty much agree with you.

Maybe the culture is homofobic and there is also a need for the gay community to find role models. This one would be a useful one. It shows that there was not so much danger in two men hugging.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200710:00 AM

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friery
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ahab and Pip

KatieAudrey, that's very insightful.

One question about your characterization of Ahab. You indicate that his isolation drove him insane. Could the opposite be true--that his insanity (or obsession) led him to his isolation (from his crewmembers and fellow man)?

Another question: is Ahab an archetype of any sort? A leader, dictator, religious figure, older person, capitalist?
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Choisya
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Re: Ahab and Pip

And what do you think about these points friery?




friery wrote:
KatieAudrey, that's very insightful.

One question about your characterization of Ahab. You indicate that his isolation drove him insane. Could the opposite be true--that his insanity (or obsession) led him to his isolation (from his crewmembers and fellow man)?

Another question: is Ahab an archetype of any sort? A leader, dictator, religious figure, older person, capitalist?


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chad
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Re: Gay men or homosexual acts? Trypots Inn.

[ Edited ]
Sorry, delete this one.

Message Edited by chad on 02-21-200709:53 AM

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chad
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Re: Gay men or homosexual acts? Trypots Inn.

[ Edited ]
People obviously connect through sexuality-this is as far as I went, but not as far as society will go. We still classify sexuality; we need to know if you're part of the whale.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-21-200709:54 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Gay men or homosexual acts? Trypots Inn.



chad wrote:
We still classify sexuality; we need to know if you're part of the whale.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-21-200709:54 AM






Sorry, but I need some clarification of this idea.
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chad
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Re: Gay men or homosexual acts? Trypots Inn.

[ Edited ]
This one may get me in trouble, but we are forming coalitions based on sexuality labels. Are we in agreement that Moby is about people connecting, in any way, to form something resembling a whale, itself? The human being is usually part of larger organization, a whale, metaphorically. The larger, amalgamated whale then becomes something antagonistic to the free thinking individual.

Chad

I'm not sure if we addressed why homosexuality is in something entitled "Moby Dick." Sex ensures survival of the species- it's why we have sex organs.

Message Edited by chad on 02-22-200712:05 PM

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chad
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Trypots Inn.

"We can't really categorize people by sexual identity in this historical era: there was simply too much fluidity in sex roles to make sexual orientation a meaningful category."

I think attempts at categorization were made at the Trypots. Mrs Hussey tries to make us reveal who we are, when she screams "clam or cod?" I get the feeling Mrs Hussey herself will tell you.

Chad
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