Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don't give up the ending to Moby Dick


Talking about some of the greatest spoilers in movie and TV history, this article starts by saying,

"Spoiler alert: Romeo and Juliet die, Scarlett doesn't love Ashley but Rhett walks out anyway, the Ring of Power is destroyed, Moby-Dick wins, Laura Palmer was killed by her father, and Soylent Green is people."

I find it fascinating that Moby Dick is one of them. One of the six.

I remember the hype around Laura Palmer of Twin Peaks even though I never watched the show until after it had ended (it was good and I should have watched). Soylent Green is one of my favorite movies now, even though I wasn't born when it first came out--somehow I never heard the spoiler and am glad I didn't when I finally watched it.

The article mentions Lost and The Crying Game, (and since I unfortunately heard about the ending to The Crying Game, I think it has ruined any enjoyment I could get out of watching it--I have never seen it yet know everything), eventually mentioning the ending to Casablanca.

Amazingly, no mention of The Sixth Sense--I guess even the author didn't want to spoil that one. (Because that one COMPLETELY destroys any enjoyment of the movie for the first time if you know the end.)

As the article ends, "— spoiler alert — Ilsa leaves Casablanca without Rick, but we still cry every time, and then we watch it again." Does this work for Moby Dick? If I hadn't have known that the whale wins, would it have been a shock?

I mean, here we have a novel from 1851 where the protagonist loses and dies! Maybe that would have made a reader sit up for the first time, like watching The Sixth Sense the first time--you can't put it back in the box. Any subsequent viewing of The Sixth Sense is awash in trying to pick out clues.

However, as I have posted very recently, two jacket bookcovers mention the end!!

On one: "In an ironic twist of fate, Ahab is last glimpsed entangled in the harpoon lines once intended to strike down his nemesis, Moby Dick.”

On another: "its dramatic end when the white whale triumphs and all hands, except Ishmael, perish"

So, is the reader supposed to know or not?? Does it hinder the reading?? Were those bookjacket authors screwing us out of a reader's enjoyment??

I'm tellin' ya, I'm on to something here...

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