Thursday, July 22, 2010

Latest Chapters

I am in the final stretch. I am officially on Chapter 113, even though I can only read 2 maybe 3 chapters a day. Since the storyline is minimal, I believe, it is hard to maintain interest. It is only through the most remarkable self-determination that I am getting through it.

So I still hate it, even though there are shining moments, albeit brief moments.

For instance, Chapter 105 is all about extinct whales and where modern ones came from, are bigger, etc. Yawn.

Chapter 106 on Ahab's leg has a shining moment of interest. He is getting a new leg, one made of sperm whale jawbone, what they call "ivory-bone." It must be very monomanical to get a leg made of the thing that bit it off. If he can't have Moby Dick's jawbone yet for it, this will have to do for now. That is sort of fascinating.

And then bloody Chapter 107 goes off on another tangent again! About carpenters! Again, Melville slips away from the narrative.

Chapter 108 is on the fitting of the new leg (see, three chapters to put on a leg). How embarassing for Ahab. They say a "dismasted man never entirely loses the feeling of his old spar [leg]." What that must be like for the one-track man now.

And then Chapter 109 has a scene much like I am imagining that one scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where Khan's right-hand man is telling him he has a ship to go where he will, that he has already bested Kirk. In this case, Starbuck is arguing like a good first officer about unsound decisions, eventually relenting to Ahab, saying, "'but let Ahab beware of Ahab; beware of thyself, old man.'"

Now comes the good stuff, although there are still asides, however short the chapters are, on extraneous things. Sort of poetic, yes on the Pacific Ocean, but I think it should have been blended into the narrative, have a character speak it or something.

Give me another week or so and I will slay this whale of a book myself.

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