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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From Moby-Dick

"Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung.”



I mean, come on. The writing here! I think Melville sometimes taps into our souls so perfectly that we have to close the book on him. Who hasn’t felt screwed over by a job, a lover, or a friend? And somehow something becomes the living, breathing stand-in for that anger. Maybe we cut people off in traffic, or say crappy things behind people’s backs, or hold grudges. Ahab sees in the white whale as the reason for all the ways in which he has been hurt. We all have a white whale we are chasing. We just do.

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