The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
"It so chanced, that after the Parsee's disappearance, I was he whom the Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab's bowsman, when that bowsman assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from out the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So. floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the half-spent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex."
Musing: Ishmael, the character, returns in full voice here. There was so much left to chance in this brief epilogue. Had Ishmael remained in his original place, he too would have been taken in by the vortex. But Ishmael, just like his character, 'floated on the margin' of the action. Throughout the book, Ishmael is never the center of attention. There are too many 'big' personalities to watch - Moby-Dick, Ahab, Starbuck, Queequeq. I always though Melville did a great job of diverting attention away from the'every man' - from us. Are we on the fringe of action? Is that where the storytellers survive?