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  • From Midnight,Forecastle

The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever

"FRENCH SAILOR Merry-mad! Hold up thy hoop, Pip, till I jump through it! Split jibs! tear yourself!

TASHTEGO (Quietly smoking) That’s a white man; he calls that fun: humph!"


Musing: Moby-Dick is a novel that covers a lot of ground. One of the big topics it hits upon is race. In this scene, Pip, a young black child, is on deck 'entertaining' the increasingly drunken sailors with his tambourine. There is a lot of talk from the sailors about Pip being funny. but the three harpooners, all men of color, make comments from time to time about the situation not being quite so funny. This was dangerous territory when the book was published, but each time I read the book I love Melville more and more.

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