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  • From The Whiteness of the Whale

The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever

"And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues- every stately or lovely emblazoning- the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtle deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within

[ . . .] And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?"


Musing: Here it is. Melville lays it out -the white whale could represent death or the rage against death or exposes a truth about death. Melville writes that color simply masks whiteness. The implication is that all the beauty in the world is simply hiding the inevitability of death. And if the white whale represents all that fear of our non-existence, then do we wonder why we all chase our own versions of the white whale? Oh this is good stuff!

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