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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 14: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

Updated: Feb 9

Chapter 9: Day 14: The Sermon

“Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels’ wards. Screwed at it’s axis against the side, a swinging lamp slightly oscillates in Jonah’s room. [. . . ]  The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his tormented eyes roll around the place.”



Finally, I see it. The sermon Father Mapple delivers is a harbinger of things to come in the rest of the book. I’ve seen the slouched hat of Jonah on Ahab and now I recall in the chapter "The Chart," where a “pewter lamp suspended in chains over his [Ahab’s] head.” We will see Ahab’s ‘trances of torment’ here as well. Definitely an alignment between these two characters.

Jonah, running from what God has asked him to do, is the precursor of Ahab! Though what Ahab is running from is still unclear to me. Ishmael, who pays for his travel (sins) up front, ends up as the winner. Or at least alive.

Wow. How did I miss all this before?

Okay, shipmates, let’s move on!

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