The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever


"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. [. . . ] All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down"

Musing: The history of Ahab's encounter with Ahab has just been recounted. After Ahab's leg was taken, the anger set in. The description of anger in this chapter haunts me. These are words that make you pause - "truth with malice in it" - who hasn't been there? The big theme/meaning of the book is here - many of us have anger so strong it "cracks the sinews and cakes the brain." Ahab placed all his anger and resentment on the whale. Where do we place ours?

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