The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever


"The ship! The hearse!-the second hearse!" cried Ahab from the boat; "its wood could only be American!"

Musing: Reading this book again, in the age of Trump, made me sick. The political tones of Moby-Dick are simply incredible. The Pequod is the microcosm of America. At the time Melville wrote the book, there were thirty states and there are thirty sailors on board the ship. The sailors represent a mix of races and cultures. If the book is often philosophical and cosmic, it is also political and specific. Are we on a self destructive quest to conquer without thought of what that even means? Are we willing to follow a leader blindly because we are trapped on a ship in the ocean and we have pledged to "win" something?

I went back to Chapter 20 of Moby-Dick because I remembered Ishmael saying this: 'If I had been downright honest with myself, I would have seen very plainly in my heart that I did but half fancy being committed this way to so long a voyage, without once laying my eyes on the man who was to be absolute dictator of it, so soon as the ship sailed out upon the open sea. But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And much this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to think nothing.'

We are all standing on American wood. WHat will we say? What will we do?

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