The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever


"From the ship's bows, nearly all the seamen now hung inactive; hammers, bits of plank, lances, and harpoons, mechanically retained in their hands, just as they had darted from their various employments; all their enchanted eyes intent upon the whale, which from side to side strangely vibrating his predestinating head, sent a broad band of overspreading semicircular foam before him as he rushed. Retribution, swift vengeance, eternal malice were in his whole aspect, and spite of all that mortal man could do, the solid white buttress of his forehead smote the ship's starboard bow, till men and timbers reeled.

Musing: I just want to let this language work its magic.There are so many clues in this passage to tie the book together. The men are as enchanted by the whale as they were with Ahab. The whale's head is 'predestinating.' Already fixed. Already determined. Moby Dick is full of retribution, vengeance - religious words that sound like when God sent a great flood upon the earth. And the head of the whale 'smote' the ship and then it was almost over. Wowsa. Makes you want to fall to your knees.

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