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Moby-Dick or, the Whale
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Herman Melville Collection > Moby-Dick: Chpts LXXXIII - CII (83 - 102) Spoilers

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message 1: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Week 5: Chpts LXXXIII - CII spoiler thread


Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Hey Gang, maybe I am a bit further than some (Chapter 99) but I just wanted to say that I really liked the explanation of life being a circular journey through the houses of the zodiac (the circle of life?) and what each one represented to him - I guess Ishmael? I don't know very much about astrology but found it quite interesting and feel like I would like to research further. I feel that the zodiac, in this light, could be used to represent, in addition to the whole of life, each of our smaller struggles, challenges and phases. Does anyone have any insight into this part of the story?


Pink | 6554 comments You're a little ahead of me, I've just finished chapter 85, about the spouting of the whale! The slaughtering has been a little graphic, but I've really appreciated how descriptive everything is. Whether it's the sea adventures, or digressions about whale facts, it's so in depth that I get a great picture in my head. Sometimes too much of a picture!


Phil Jensen | 627 comments There's a chapter in here called something like "The Squeeze of a Hand" that's all about the sailors stirring their arms in the spermaceti (which he insists on calling sperm) that is pretty vivid in describing the intimacy of the sailors. There was so much description of being dipped in a bucket of sperm that my wife said, "I'm going to need a shower after this!"


Pink | 6554 comments Haha, yes some of the descriptions were a little vivid!


message 6: by Cynda (last edited Apr 27, 2017 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cynda | 3041 comments I am trying to get through Moby Dick because on March 1, another group I'm in is starting East of Eden, about 600 pages....
In Chapter 87, I feel my eyes pop out. Ishmael speaks of large groups of whales, about 1000 herded together for protection against whalers. Enough whales were already killed that whales created a new society. Intelligent. Determined. And now we have so few whales that they have difficulty finding a mate, any mate....
Schools of whales
Schools of a 1000
What a concept.


Cynda | 3041 comments Question: What is white ash used for on the Pequod? Anyone?


message 8: by George P. (last edited May 10, 2017 08:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

George P. | 568 comments Cynda wrote: "Question: What is white ash used for on the Pequod? Anyone?"

I think the mention of that was about the small boats that chase and harpoon the whales- apparently that's the wood they're made of- that was my impression. I just read that yesterday I think.
I just finished chapter 88, more education on the ways of whales. I believe I'm at 68% through reading the book, or at the two-thirds mark. I hereby toast my progress and congratulate each of you for yours as well.


Myst | 173 comments Last night driving home, I got to the part when they're talking about Rosebud.

Is there any connection between this Rosebud and the Rosebud that Citizen Kane was talking about? Like was the Citizen Kane writer a fan of Moby Dick or something?

(If you haven't seen Citizen Kane, go watch it...it's good.)


message 10: by Katy, New School Classics (last edited May 15, 2017 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Hmm -- can't say that I've ever heard of a connection -- but a sled & a ship. Possibly?

I did find this online:
Speaking of “frou frou symbolism,” could Moby-Dick be responsible for naming one of cinema’s most famous metaphors? Bear with me on this one.

Orson Welles was a huge fan of Moby-Dick. He staged a stripped-down version of it on the London stage in 1955. He made a cameo in John Huston’s 1956 film as Father Mapple to deliver Melville’s booming sermon on Jonah. Welles also attempted to film it in 1971, but like many of his later projects, like a stove-in ship, it was abandoned.

But before tackling the novel head on, it may have provided him with one of his most lasting legacies. In Chapter 91 the Perquod meets a ship whose name is familiar to anyone who knows the opening words and closing shot of Welles’ Citizen Kane. The name, of course, is Rosebud.

Reference: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/03/a-simp...


message 11: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 627 comments Welles may have chosen the name for several reasons. Gore Vidal believed it was a dig at William Randolph Hearst, who used the term as a pet name for his girlfriend's private parts.


message 12: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "Welles may have chosen the name for several reasons. Gore Vidal believed it was a dig at William Randolph Hearst, who used the term as a pet name for his girlfriend's private parts."

Yes, I found all of those also. So I suppose we will never really know the truth.


message 13: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "There's a chapter in here called something like "The Squeeze of a Hand" that's all about the sailors stirring their arms in the spermaceti (which he insists on calling sperm) that is pretty vivid i..."

That (Chapter 94) is pretty homoerotic I was thinking. Also I thought Chapter 95 with its archbishoprick pun fairly obscene. I had no idea this was in the book!


Lotte | 196 comments Phil wrote: "There's a chapter in here called something like "The Squeeze of a Hand" that's all about the sailors stirring their arms in the spermaceti (which he insists on calling sperm) that is pretty vivid i..."

I thought this chapter hilarious: "let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.

It made me wonder how sperm would look like, because the way he describes it, it seems to look a lot like, well, sperm. I did some youtubing around, and apparently, it is exactly that way:

https://youtu.be/aXccTHXPYfM?t=2365
Warning: they are cutting open a stranded sperm whale, so not for the faint hearted. They also show some historical footage on a whaling ship and then have Richard Hawkins explaining the evolutionary past of the sperm whale. Just watched some fragments, since I was just looking for the sperm, but it seems quite interesting :).

Katy wrote: "Reference: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/03/a-simp..."

Thank you for this reference! I bookmarked it so I can read it after I finish the novel. Pop culture references that enable me to be all snobby by pointing out they are inspired by a great classic I "happened" to read? Bring it on! ;-)


message 15: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 627 comments Lotte, did any of your research turn up the natural purpose of spermaceti? Why do sperm whales have it?


Lotte | 196 comments Three purposes, as far as I understand (from Wiki and the Youtube video):

1) Sinking: the whale cools off the spermaceti by snorting water, which causes it to become more solid (think wax instead of oil) and thus more heavy. It apparently also controls the heat to liquify it again (to rise), but I did not properly understand that part.

2) Echolocation: In the front of his head, underneath the spermaceti "bag", there is a clicking organ, called "monkey lips" that clicks. The clicking sound travels through the spermaceti to the back, where it bounces off the skull, back to the front (through the lower nose) and is then emitted into the ocean. They can find their way and find their prey like this.

3) The same clicking system allows them to communicate. The longer it takes before the click is bounced back (so the longer or louder the sound is), the longer the spermaceti bag has to be. Thus, whales can deduce each other lenghts from the clicking sound, which is important to the males, who have to "sound" big.

Nature <3


message 17: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 627 comments Fascinating. Thanks!


message 18: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Now that is interesting Lotte -- much more so than the book has been for me.


message 19: by Luffy (new) - rated it 1 star

Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) | 342 comments I've completed this section. That is all.


message 20: by Katy, New School Classics (last edited Jun 10, 2017 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Hooray for you Luffy. When we finish this book we need to have tea to celebrate!


message 21: by Luffy (new) - rated it 1 star

Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) | 342 comments Yes indeed. And thanks.


George P. | 568 comments Katy wrote: "Phil wrote: "There's a chapter in here called something like "The Squeeze of a Hand" that's all about the sailors stirring their arms in the spermaceti (which he insists on calling sperm) that is p..."

There's a part that talks of a sailor drying a piece of the whaleskin to use as a protective coat while processing pieces of blubber. According to my Cliff's Notes this is the skin of the whale's penis. It's funny that Melville didn't come out and say that. I guess you couldn't say some words in those days.


message 23: by Carlo (last edited Jun 13, 2017 12:22AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Carlo | 206 comments George wrote: "this is the skin of the whale's penis"

I must confess I didn't pick up on this when I read it the first time and wondered what it was all about.

I liked the way each person interpreted the Doubloon coin in such a way as to give an insight into their character.

The banter between the two captains with ivory limbs was fun.


message 24: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
And such a different take each captain had on his ivory limb .


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