Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Think Moby-Dick IS Free Now

Chapter 131 – The Pequod Meets the Delight
The Pequod is passing the beaten ship, the Delight, and Ahab probes the captain if he’s seen the White Whale and if he has been killed; but the captain points to the wrecked whale boat and claims that a harpoon has yet to be made that can do that.  The captain tells Ahab that five of his men went after the Whale - one they will bury, and the other four were buried before they died.

Chapter 132 – The Symphony
Ahab seems to think he has been called to seek revenge on Moby-Dick, even after contemplating his wife and child.  He knows he is “more a demon than a man” for chasing his target.  Starbuck tries to convince him to turn back, to no avail.

Chapter 133 – The Chase – First Day
Finally, Moby-Dick is spotted, and the chase is on.  The Whale targets Ahab’s boat and crew and flips them into the sea where they are rescued by the other boats, while the Pequod, manned by Starbuck, drives away the Whale.   The crew keeps watch all night, though Starbuck says it is a bad omen and wants to stop pursuing the Whale.

Chapter 134 – The Chase – Second Day
The crew is persuaded to chase Moby-Dick, and when the Whale breaches himself in an act of defiance, they lower three boats to chase him a second day.  Immediately, the Whale smashes two boats to pieces and violently overturns Ahab’s boat - sending the crew into the sea.  Again, Starbuck, aboard the Pequod, must rescue the injured crew.  Predictably, Fedallah was not to be found again. 

Chapter 135 – The Chase – Third Day
On this third day, Starbuck tries once more to convince Ahab to not go, but Ahab lowers down into the sea. First, the Whale takes out Stubbs’ and Flask’s boats sending the crews back to the Pequod.   Then Ahab witnesses Fedallah’s body tangled in rope around the Whale’s body recognizing the prophecy of the first hearse.  While the crews are aboard the ship, Moby-Dick vengefully charges it, and it begins to sink, making it the second hearse of Fedallah’s prophesy.  

Ahab uses his last opportunity to stab Moby-Dick, though his line “caught him around the neck” and took him down with the Whale.  Ahab was gone.  The Pequod was gone.  But who is telling this story?

The lone survivor is Ishmael because he was thrown from Ahab’s boat far enough away from the sinking of the ship in which all was lost.  Queequeg’s coffin became his life buoy, and after a night and a day the Rachel picks him up, “that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.”

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