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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 64: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

Chapter 53: The Gam

“GAM. NOUN—A social meeting of two (or moreWhaleships, generally on a cruising-ground; when, after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats’ crews: the two captains remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates on the other.




The idea of the gam will become important as the book goes on. In this chapter we are simply introduced to the concept. Before reading Moby-Dick I could never imagine the idea of men in the middle of the ocean walking onto each other’s ships like you were crossing the block in a city, but they did. And it wasn’t an easy thing to do, cross from one ship to another in the middle of waves and wind, but that’s how hungry each ship was for news of home and, perhaps, letters from family.


Though Ahab is not sociable, he does want news of the white whale, so gams will be had. But imagine all of the struggles going from one ship to another and having only one leg. More on that later.

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