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  • From The Chase - Third Day

The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever

"I turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow,-death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief.


Musing: I always found it curious that while Melville states earlier that a dying whale turns toward the sun, Ahab turns from the sun. Here, after the boats are all torn asunder, Ahab watches as the Pequod sinks. And the Captain, who should go down with the ship, is not with the ship. Ahab also notes how only in his ultimate grief will his greatness be revealed. So Ahab must confront the whale - and whatever the whale means to him - to us.

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