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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 45 Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

Chapter 41: Moby-Dick

“I, Ishmael, was one of that crew; my shouts had gone up with the rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and stronger I shouted, and more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my soul. A wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me; Ahab’s quenchless feud seemed mine. With greedy ears I learned the history of that murderous monster against whom I and all the others had taken our oaths of violence and revenge.



This is another of those Chapters that can’t be mused upon in one day.

Ishmael rejoins us from his break after the soliloquies. And he has a confession to make – he has been part of the crowd taking sides with Ahab, drinking with Ahab, holding swords with Ahab. There is, of course, a sense of growing mob mentality here. The other guys were doing it, Mom, so I had to. But Ish adds to this.

Ish states he felt a dread in his soul. He understands being angry at the universe. Feeling picked on, helpless, alone. And so Ish wants to join Ahab in his quest to right the wrong bestowed up him, upon us, upon US.

And Ishmael listens to the stories of Moby Dick. And he feeds on that anger. And he vows to help Ahab on his quest. And now, the lone objector is Starbuck. I’ve always hated Starbuck, but that’s a lot to go against, huh?

This famously-named-for-the book chapter, is, believe it or not, about to get weird.

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