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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From: The Log and the Line

"Come! I feel prouder leading thee by thy black hand, than though I grasped an Emperor’s!”



Here is where Ahab always gets me. He takes in Pip. Takes poor Pip to his cabin and tries to show him comfort and love. Ahab, though he is the 'villain' of this book, has his humanities and he shows humanity to Pip. In 1851, a white man taking a black person by the hand would have been seen as a scandal. But Ahab tellingly says," had poor Pip but felt so kind a thing as this, perhaps he had ne’er been lost!"

Parts of Moby-Dick point to Melville's stance against slavery; against the laws enforced by his father-in-law Lemuel Shaw, especially in regard to Shaw's upholding of the Fugitive Slave Act. Ahab is a lot of things, but when he sees clearly, he sees kindly.

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