Passing on some helpful informtion from the https://nami.org/ website
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Please share liberally and make sure the resources are available to those who need them. -mike
Moby Dick or The White Whale.
I have to admit that though we read portions of the book for English classes in both high school and college, I’ve never actually read this entire classic by Herman Melville. Although he did write others that also rate highly like Billy Bud and Bartleby, the latter of the two I have read, I’ve not quite gotten to the most famous and well known of his works.
So far, I’m only about 24pgs and five chapters in, but due to the density and erudition of the writing, it feels like I’ve been reading Moby Dick for ever. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. I’m just saying that if you expect this 460pg classic to read as quickly and smoothly as your most recent YA fiction novel, you’ll be mistaken and also pleasantly surprised. But then again we all really do love pain, don’t we? Its ok. You can say it.
The first introduction is to the first person narrator, Ishamel by perhaps the most well know ‘first sentence’ in history, barring perhaps “It was the best of times…” from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which I also haven’t read yet and is also gathering dust on our shelves. Ishmael describes himself as a world traveler by whaling ships, and a school teacher with a persistent and recurrent itch for the seas. The first couple of pages in fact describe the almost supernatural and mystical draw that bodies of waters have on all people.
I guess from an evolutionary point of view, which Melville hadn’t quite learned of yet since Darwin’s Origin of the Species was yet to be printed when The White Whale was first published, if we are all ‘originated’ from primordial aquatic forms of life then of course it makes perfect sense that our ‘beings’, our very ‘souls’ would be drawn back toward ‘home’, or at least an innate and unconscious appreciation of where we came from. But this is neither a biology textbook nor a blog on paleontology.
The next person we are made acquaintance with, a person that our guide says will be a ship mate of his later, is a Harpooner and weathered sailor named Queequeg. Curious name, I know. But with his entrance we get our first glance at the salt and sun toughened men that inhabitted the ships on the open seas in those days, who ventured both life and fortune in the hunt for whale flesh, blubber and oil to sustain them and their societies. We get to see up close and possibly a bit too personally the kind of men these were in their own “native habitat”.
I hope to finish reading Moby Dick before the end of September, but it may be close to the wire due to the density and the interesting story and environment Melville is building. I can definitely see after just a few pages why this has been a classic for as long as it has and why it’s required reading in school.
Enjoy what you’re reading. I certainly am. -mike