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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 72: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

CHAPTERS 62 and 63. The Dart and the Crotch


“Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs. So, in productive subjects, grow the chapters.”



I included the two little chapters above because of this one line that starts Chapter 63. Chapter 62 is an argument for letting the harpooners stay in their place on the boat and not have to row. They are exhausted throwing the lance, after all. And I’m going to agree with Ishmael because what the hell do I know about whaling. But the chapter is a little like a Norma Rae segment – keep the men who kill the whales healthy and safe!


Chapter 63 tells us that all these little chapters will eventually lead to something bigger at the end. And they will. But mostly I like it when Melville aka Ishmael talks about writing. The trunk is a writer’s plot and from the plot grow chapters. I like thinking of a book like a tree, organic and filled with words like leaves. Plus we learn how dangerous this business of whaling is. And there you have it.

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