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  • From The Albatross

The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever

"'Swim away from me, do ye?" murmured Ahab, gazing over into the water. There seemed but little in the words, but the tone conveyed more of deep helpless sadness than the insane old man had ever before evinced. But turning to the steersman, who thus far had been holding the ship in the wind to diminish her headway, he cried out in his old lion voice,-"Up helm! Keep her off round the world!" Round the world! There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? Only through numberless perils to the very point whence we started, where those that we left behind secure, were all the time before us."


Musing: Ahab has tried to connect to another ship, The Albatross, to ask if they have seen Moby-Dick, but the wind is too fierce that day. As the ships pass, Ahab notes the fish sailing away from his gaze. The last part of this passage gets me every time: "Round the world!" It does seem that we sometimes work very hard only to be back right back where we began. It's like Confucius said - "no matter where you go, there you are."

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