Moby Dick Reading Journal Chapters 65-70

Huh. I thought I read a lot more this week…

I seem to remember sitting down every day to read from Moby Dick, but it must’ve only been a page or two each day, because I really didn’t get that far! The action has slowed down, and it’s mostly technical descriptions of how to splice up a dead whale.

Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. For instance, I had no idea that there had ever been, or could be, a polarized debate about what the skin is on a whale. Isn’t skin just skin? But Ishmael insists that among some circles, the skin of the whale is considered to be, in fact, the blubber itself; and in other circles, it is a see-through, plastic-like material that barely covers the blubber.

There was also a very intense description, this week, of how sharks attack the whale while it’s moored to the side of the ship. They voraciously attack the underbelly of the whale, stripping away chunks and chunks of it. This scene brought horrifying memories back to me of the sad sections in The Old Man and the Sea, for Hemingway’s Classic also contains a description of sharks attacking a large, dead fish. However, the crew of the Pequod’s reaction to the sharks is in sharp contrast to the old man’s. In Moby Dick, the whale is so huge that the sharks satisfy themselves without costing the sailors almost anything in losses, while in The Old Man and the Sea, the old man must fight desperately to retain his hard-earned prize from being completely devoured by and lost to the sharks. I love The Old Man and the Sea, and I nearly started crying again just remembering it!

What is your favorite high seas adventure classic?

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