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  • From Moby Dick

The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever

"Already several fatalities had attended his chase. But though similar disasters, however little bruited ashore, were by no means unusual in the fishery; yet, in most instances, such seemed the White Whale’s infernal aforethought of ferocity, that every dismembering or death that he caused, was not wholly regarded as having been inflicted by an unintelligent agent.

Judge, then, to what pitches of inflamed, distracted fury the minds of his more desperate hunters were impelled, when amid the chips of chewed boats, and the sinking limbs of torn comrades, they swam out of the white curds of the whale’s direful wrath into the serene, exasperating sunlight, that smiled on, as if at a birth or a bridal."


Musing: The history of the white whale tells us that Moby Dick has been tagged as being the cause of several deaths already. The sailors, it seems, believe that the white whale targets certain individuals. That's interesting, for sure, but it's the second half of this passage that demonstrates the brilliance of Melville's writing. Have you ever been in a scene of chaos - a fight or a car accident or being lost in a big city, only to turn a corner to see sunshine or a rainbow? Does it never hit you that nature carried on regardless of what dark circumstances you were in? And not only does nature carry on, but it didn't even storm and rage to express the way you were feeling. Sometimes when I am angry, it pisses me off to be in 'exasperating sunlight.' But now I've said too much. I'll let Melville's words stand.

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