Chapter 38 - DUSK
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Herman Melville was the author of a story about what we'd now consider an illegal activity, the commercial hunting of whales for oil and meat. Whaling is still carried out by Japan, Iceland and Canada, among other nations, though most nations voluntarily abstain in the interests of conserving these magnificent animals - as per International Whaling Commission guidelines.
CHAPTER 38. Dusk.
BY THE MAINMAST; STARBUCK LEANING AGAINST IT.
My soul is more than matched; she's overmanned; and by a madman! Insufferable sting, that sanity should ground arms on such a field! But he drilled deep down, and blasted all my reason out of me! I think I see his impious end; but feel that I must help him to it. Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing has tied me to him; tows me with a cable I have no knife to cut. Horrible old man! Who's over him, he cries;—aye, he would be a democrat to all above; look, how he lords it over all below! Oh! I plainly see my miserable office,—to obey, rebelling; and worse yet, to hate with touch of pity! For in his eyes I read some lurid woe would shrivel me up, had I it. Yet is there hope. Time and tide flow wide. The hated whale has the round watery world to swim in, as the small gold-fish has its glassy globe. His heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside. I would up heart, were it not like lead. But my whole clock's run down; my heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.
Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen crew that have small touch of human mothers in them! Whelped somewhere by the sharkish sea. The white whale is their demigorgon. Hark! the infernal orgies! that revelry is forward! mark the unfaltering silence aft! Methinks it pictures life. Foremost through the sparkling sea shoots on the gay, embattled, bantering bow, but only to drag dark Ahab after it, where he broods within his sternward cabin, builded over the dead water of the wake, and further on, hunted by its wolfish gurglings. The long howl thrills me through! Peace! ye revellers, and set the watch! Oh, life! 'tis in an hour like this, with soul beat down and held to knowledge,—as wild, untutored things are forced to feed—Oh, life! 'tis now that I do feel the latent horror in thee! but 'tis not me! that horror's out of me! and with the soft feeling of the human in me, yet will I try to fight ye, ye grim, phantom futures! Stand by me, hold me, bind me, O ye blessed influences!
CHAPTER 26. Knights and Squires.
CHAPTER 27. Knights and Squires.
CHAPTER 29. Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb.
CHAPTER 39. First Night Watch.
CHAPTER 40. Midnight, Forecastle.
CHAPTER 42. The Whiteness of The Whale.
CHAPTER 48. The First Lowering.
CHAPTER 50. Ahab's Boat and Crew. Fedallah.
CHAPTER 54. The Town-Ho's Story.
CHAPTER 55. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales.
CHAPTER 56. Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True
CHAPTER 57. Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in
CHAPTER 61. Stubb Kills a Whale.
CHAPTER 65. The Whale as a Dish.
CHAPTER 66. The Shark Massacre.
CHAPTER 71. The Jeroboam's Story.
CHAPTER 73. Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk
CHAPTER 74. The Sperm Whale's Head—Contrasted View.
CHAPTER 75. The Right Whale's Head—Contrasted View.
CHAPTER 76. The Battering-Ram.
CHAPTER 77. The Great Heidelburgh Tun.
CHAPTER 78. Cistern and Buckets.
CHAPTER 81. The Pequod Meets The Virgin.
CHAPTER 82. The Honour and Glory of Whaling.
CHAPTER 83. Jonah Historically Regarded.
CHAPTER 88. Schools and Schoolmasters.
CHAPTER 89. Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish.
CHAPTER 91. The Pequod Meets The Rose-Bud.
CHAPTER 94. A Squeeze of the Hand.
CHAPTER 98. Stowing Down and Clearing Up.
CHAPTER 102. A Bower in the Arsacides.
CHAPTER 103. Measurement of The Whale's Skeleton.
CHAPTER 104. The Fossil Whale.
CHAPTER 105. Does the Whale's Magnitude Diminish?—Will He Perish?
CHAPTER 108. Ahab and the Carpenter.
CHAPTER 109. Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin.
CHAPTER 110. Queequeg in His Coffin.
CHAPTER 115. The Pequod Meets The Bachelor.
CHAPTER 120. The Deck Towards the End of the First Night Watch.
CHAPTER 121. Midnight.—The Forecastle Bulwarks.
CHAPTER 122. Midnight Aloft.—Thunder and Lightning.
CHAPTER 125. The Log and Line.
CHAPTER 128. The Pequod Meets The Rachel.
CHAPTER 131. The Pequod Meets The Delight.
CHAPTER 133. The Chase—First Day.
CHAPTER 134. The Chase—Second Day.
CHAPTER 135. The Chase.—Third Day.
Moby Dick is the antogonist in this story of a great white 'bull' sperm whale that fought back at whalers who tried to harpoon him.
The idea came to Herman Melville after he spent time on a commercial whaler, where stories abounded of the sinking of the Essex in 1821 and Mocha Dick, a giant sperm whale that sank around 20 ships, before being harpooned in 1838.
Herman realised how fixated the sailors became, and he also became with the thought that there was a whale that nobody could catch, that represented a real risk to the whalers hunting whales, in that it was more sport than commercial operations.
Without any doubt this is one of the greatest novels coming out of America at this time and way off the beaten track, making it so interesting, reflecting the state of whaling and the economic importance in the developing the nation - giving the general public a taste of something adventurous that most people never think about.
Many films and graphic novel adaptations have been inspired by the writings of Herman Melville, from Marvel and Disney comics with good cause.
One such production in 2020 is a graphic novel about a giant humpback whale called Kulo Luna, that sinks a modern whaling boat, much as depicted in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, except that is this day and age whales have explosive harpoons to contend with, and sonar, from which there is no escape.
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