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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From: Ahab

"Threading its way out from among his grey hairs, and continuing right down one side of his tawny scorched face and neck, till it disappeared in his clothing, you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish. It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made in the straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning tearingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels and grooves out the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the soil, leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded."



This is Ishmael’s first view of Ahab and the first description we get of the famed Captain. Melville’s prose is so sharp and clear that every time I hike I look for a tree like Ahab.

Sometimes the beauty of Moby-Dick is in the words themselves. And most of the time, that is enough.

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