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  • From Epilogue

The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever

"Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirge-like main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks."


Musing: I love digging into the Epilogue. The sharks, that were "rising from out the dark waters beneath the hull, maliciously snapped at the blades of the oars, every time they dipped in the water" for Ahab, are kind to Ishmael. Ahab even asks "'who can tell [ . . .] whether these sharks swim to feast on the whale or on Ahab?'" Yet Ishmael, on top of a wooden coffin, is safe from sharks and birds and all of nature. This novel begins as an epic adventure and ends as an almost tragedy - obviously Lear-like, but also quiet and reflective. The epilogue is a wrap-up of sorts, yet to me, it invites all kinds of questions about Ishmael and his role in this entire book.

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