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Moby-Dick or, the Whale
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Archived > Moby Dick - Week 3 (July/August 2016)

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message 1: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose Rocha dos Santos (roserocha) | 192 comments Hi, everyone!

This week's reading is about: Chapters 31 - 45

Feel free to post your thoughts! :)

I'm still trying to start it...


Matt (mmullerm) I just finished chapter 60 of Moby Dick. Although it has been tough for me to get into, I'm finally beginning to understand why Melville wrote this the way he did. I am finding some of the informational chapters actually helpful to the plot (not all of them of course, but some like the chapter 60, The Line, illustrate how dangerous the vocation of whaling was). I like how the chapters are short because it makes it easier to digest this daunting novel. I look forward to finishing it off. At this pace, I might be able to finish by end of July.


Matt (mmullerm) I took a little detour from reading Moby Dick this weekend and read Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. It is a true story on which Melville partially based Moby Dick. It is an entertaining, informative, and gripping book about a whaling disaster in the early 19th century. In addition to inspiring Melville, Edgar Allan Poe likely used part of the story for his novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. I recommend in the Heart of the Sea "for further reading" if you are interested in where Melville found some of his inspiration.


Kimberly | 145 comments I don't know if it matters to anyone else, but I was very curious about Chapter 32, Cetology. I found a Wikipedia page that contains information on the whales Melville was talking about - here. For me, I studied whales and dolphins for my Master's degree, so was extremely curious. ;) :) I'm not sure how accurate it is, but I found it interesting. It was a time when very little was known about whales and dolphins. So, Melville's supposed classification contained a lot fewer species (there are currently 89 species) and, in fact, had the same species listed multiple times (like the Killer whale). Not sure anyone else cares, but it's hard to leave old habits. ;) :)

In this section we learned more about Captain Ahab. I found Chapter 41 interesting. It started off talking specifically about Moby Dick, then changed to talking about Ahab's madness and hatred of Moby Dick. I'm thinking Ahab should never have been allowed to head this trip... He should have remained at home with his bride and found something else to do with himself... But, then, we would never have this book. ;)

Melville likes to change up his writing in this section, too. Several chapters are written more like a play then a book. And, he still goes into a lot of extraneous detail, like when he talks about the charting of whale sightings. :) He must want to educate his reader on everything he learned about whaling... :)

I think I'm going to have to get In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and read it. :) Or, maybe see the recent movie... Although, typically, the book is better than the movie. :)


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mich2689) | 247 comments Kimberly, I'm glad that Melville's whale classification was missing quite a few species because if not, chapter 32 would have been much longer. I'm not reading this book to learn more about whales, so unlike you, I wasn't fascinated by this chapter. I'm glad that's over with now and I hope he'll get back to the storyline.


message 6: by Terry Candee (new)

Terry Candee | 73 comments Kimberly wrote: "I don't know if it matters to anyone else, but I was very curious about Chapter 32, Cetology. I found a Wikipedia page that contains information on the whales Melville was talking about - here. For..."

I read "In The Heart Of The Sea" and really like it. the movie reviews were poor, so I skipped the movie. they changed the story quite a lot. For me a bad movie is not worth the time when I loved the book. I hate being disappointed.


Luella Finally got done with this section it was a chore. I happened to be in MA this weekend (which is why I haven't been to active) so I got to go to Nantucket and see the Heart of the Sea exhibit plus a 1st edition US copy of Moby Dick


Luella I agree the extra chapters were extra hard to get to and somewhat relevant. I'm glad I'm reading this with you guys or I'm not sure I'd be able to continue. I sort of just want to hear more about Queequeg and the voyage. Lol.


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