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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

From: Ahab and Starbuck in The Cabin

"'He waxes brave, but nevertheless obeys; most careful bravery that!' murmured Ahab, as Starbuck disappeared. 'What’s that he said—Ahab beware of Ahab—there’s something there!' Then unconsciously using the musket for a staff, with an iron brow he paced to and fro in the little cabin; but presently the thick plaits of his forehead relaxed, and returning the gun to the rack, he went to the deck.

'Thou art but too good a fellow, Starbuck.'”



Right before this scene, Starbuck told Ahab of a leak in the oil hold and Ahab said they would not stop to fix the leak. Starbuck said his peace, but he left, nonetheless, intending to obey Ahab. And I wonder, what if Starbuck had taken a different route. Spoken and acted.

When Ahab says that Starbuck speaks bravely, but obeys anyway, that always gets me. How often do I do that - chirp a little chirp at an injustice then walk away either believing I've done something brave by speaking out or knowing I have not done anything.

Those of us who are 'good people' are, perhaps, very careful with our bravery.

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