Chapter 1: Loomings
Right after Ishmael directs us to call him Ishmael, he shares that he sometimes gets depressed. And when he does, he hightails it to sea. Then the narrative voice that is Ishmael, begins to take us on a tour, commanding us to “Look at the crowds of water-gazers there [by the wharfs in the Battery.] Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip [ . . . ] What do you see? – Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reverie.”
Musing: When I first (grudgingly) read Moby-Dick, this is where I got hooked. Not that I noticed Ishmael telling me where to go and what to see, but I understood the desire to head to the water – to stand in ‘ocean reverie.’ I believed what Ishmael was saying and I loved that he came clean about the ocean being a ‘cure’ for his depression.
This Ishmael seems more forceful than the one I remember from my first reading. This Ishmael seems more alive as a character. Let’s see where this Ishmael takes me from here!