Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 134

In “The Tail,” Ishmael refers to the phenomenon of breaching, when the whale bounds out of the water and elevates itself into the air before plunging down again: As in the ordinary floating posture of the Leviathan the flukes lie considerably below the...

Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 131

It’s the Pequod’s final gam, and it’s a bleak one. The “most miserably named” whaleship Delight has, like the Rachel, encountered Moby Dick, and the encounter has brought death. Ishmael gives us this striking image of the destroyed...

Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 130

Those of you who were inclined to doubt whether Ishmael’s depiction of Ahab and Pip is meant to evoke the relationship between King Lear and his fool will be pleased to find that “The Hat” opens with an actual allusion to Shakespeare’s great...

Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 129

“The Cabin” is another dramatic chapter, and it develops further the relationship between mad Ahab and the mad cabin-boy Pip. Ahab now spends all of his time on deck watching for Moby Dick, but tells Pip to stay in the cabin, “where they shall serve...

Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 128

Of all the gams that Ishmael describes in the novel, this meeting with the Rachel is the most fraught — with emotion for the characters and with significance for the narrative. Here the Pequod encounters a ship that, the day before, encountered Moby Dick and...

Moby-Dick Big Read, Day 127

“The Deck” continues the narrative train of thought established at the end of “The Log and Line,” which I suggested we read with Shakespeare’s King Lear in mind. “The Life-Buoy” ended with the carpenter front and center, given...