The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever


"And now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin like-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirge-like main."

Musing: Ishmael has been saved by Queequeq's coffin. I like to say this is being saved by love. The coffin, which Queequeq commissioned while he was ill, was salvation for Ishmael. Rather than being the symbol of death, it literally keeps Ishmael risen from the depths of the sea. So much religious allusion here at the end. But aren't references to rising again usually reserved for heroes and Christ-figures? Is Melville trying to make Ishmael the savior here? Or is he simpley the savior of the story?

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