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  • From The Chase - Third Day

The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever

"The harpoon was darted; the stricken whale flew forward; with igniting velocity the line ran through the grooves;-ran foul. Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it; but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes bowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. Next instant, the heavy eye-splice in the rope's final end flew out of the stark-empty tub, knocked down an oarsman, and smiting the sea, disappeared in its depths."


Musing: In a second, Ahab is gone. All was fury and hell a second ago, and now, Ahab simply disappears. Was this the fault of the whale, or was it an accident that caused Ahab to get caught in the rope. The ambiguity of this ending always bothers me. I wanted Moby-Dick to act somehow - to cause harm - to show that Ahab was right. Instead - he disappears - quiet as a whisper.

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