The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever
"How the wild winds blow it; they whip it about me as the torn shreds of split sails lash the tossed ship they cling to. A vile wind that has no doubt blown ere this through prison corridors and cells, and wards of hospitals, and ventilated them, and now comes blowing hither as innocent as fleeces. Out upon it!-it's tainted. Were I the wind, I'd blow no more on such a wicked, miserable world. I'd crawl somewhere to a cave, and slink there. And yet, 'tis a noble and heroic thing, the wind! who ever conquered it? In every fight it has the last and bitterest blow. Run tilting at it, and you but run through it. Ha! a coward wind that strikes stark naked men, but will not stand to receive a single blow. Even Ahab is a braver thing-a nobler thing than that."
Musing: Starbuck is talking to himself, but the book is almost over so everything said has a heightened sense of importance now. I love the idea of the same wind touching us all. Every year the wind picks up Saharan Desert dust and blows it though San Antonio. Even though it is hell on our allergies, I like being touched by foreign dust. But I digress. Starbuck knows his truth - were he a wind, he would hide. Still, he almost admires Ahab for not hiding his agenda - his anger - his wrath. Starbuck even calls Ahab noble and heroic. I am always surprised by this passage, but then again, Starbuck must realize the end is near. Is it important for him to feel he is dying for a hero? After all, that is the default religious belief that comforts him. Starbuck is interesting in this part of the book. He is doing what he says we shouldn't do in previous passages - think.