Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I'm doing it
I haven't been posting, but I am right on track. According to my calendar, reading one chapter a day would put me at Chapter 22. I have finished Chapter 24. I've gotten lucky with some of these super-short chapters but that still works in my favor. I will move up my timetable.
The weird thing is that I am on page 140 and really nothing has happened. Ishmael and Queequeg have finally shipped off on the Pequod. We still have not seen Captain Ahab, although his shadow looms. This would be an awesome star-part, a la Orson Welles in The Third Man.
Melville was trying for the ultimate treatise on whaling. He even says so in one chapter when he argues "The whale no famous author, and whaling no famous chronicler?" from Chapter 24, "The Advocate." Melville obviously is taking that burden on his pen. This dichotomy is especially interesting to me right now from my background: up in Alaska, whaling is revered; down in the Lower 48, whaling is sneered upon. Barrow's high school team was the "Whalers" where they still do it today--I went to a museum up there and everything. Melville is explaining how important whaling was to 1800s America, and honestly, I don't think early America would have survived without it. Alaska, especially rural Alaska, still needs whaling. For culture and for food and supplies. They use every part of that beast.
So it interests me right now that this book should survive for the understanding of whaling alone.
The picture above is courtesy of The Inupiat Heritage Center, which I have been to, up in Barrow, Alaska. http://www.nps.gov/archive/inup/inupExhibitsAldrich.htm