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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From "The Ship"

“How now in the contemplative evening of his days, the pious Bildad reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do not know; but it did not seem to concern him much, and very probably he had long since come to the sage and sensible conclusion that a man’s religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another. This world pays dividends.”


Musing: In this section, Ishmael is searching for a ship to sail on. He heads to the Pequod and meets the two owners. Both men are pious and careful men; former Captains and forever Quakers. Bildad, one of the owners, is the money guy. Ishmael believes that in his older years, Bildad remembers his religious beliefs, but acts in his own secular interest on the daily. The other realm might pay off one day, Ishmael seems to conclude, but here – money talks.

This is a theme Melville traces – the practicality of taking money and the cost of taking money. Today, being Sunday, the book of Melville delivers a fruitful message.

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