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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From The Spouter-Inn

"What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself—the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."


Musing: I think this is one of my all time favorite passages from Moby-Dick. The whole scene where Ishmael is waiting for Queequeg, the cannibal, to enter a room where they will share a bed, must have been astonishing back in 1851. "It’s only his outside; a man can be honest in any sort of skin," said very few people in Melville's day. Ishmael says it. There has been so much made of the homoerotic undertones in Moby-Dick - much of it valid - but, for me, the beauty in this friendship is the friendship itself. The pure love the two men share as shipmates on this crazy boat we call earth.

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