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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From Cetology

"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught—nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!"



Everyone complains about chapters like “Cetology.” It just goes on and on and on about WHALES! And there is some truth in that, but there is also a purpose. If Melville is creating an epic, here is the epic form – but about whales instead of human lineage. It’s tongue-in- cheek amusing. Even in the ‘boring’ chapters, Melville hides Easter eggs for us to find. The quote above – good grief. I live by this as a writer. Nothing great is ever finished. And that is as it should be. Otherwise, it was just too easy.

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