The Conclusion of Moby Dick

Last week, I had written about, and shared my thoughts on, the first half of Moby Dick. Thursday afternoon, I finished this maritime tale. The yarn, full of 19th century knowledge, seafaring crew courtesies and whaling ship practices, was a continuous piece of traditional lore.

Although Melville’s vernacular is quite antiquated, and the man can be rather verbose, I comprehended enough of the book. I at least understood enough that, when the final pieces came together, the ending made perfect sense. Though, I’ll admit, if I were to say that every line made perfect sense, I’d be lying. Some paragraphs seemed too long, and some seemed to have more than one topic. When that’s the case, I start muddling through and rereading sentences.

However, the last sixty or so pages are a blast. Melville excels at detailing Ahab’s chase for the white whale. He also abides by the traditional law of threes: Three days after Moby Dick, three boat lowering towards the whale and three catastrophic ends. Of course, the sinking of the ship, and the perishing crew are saved for the final day.

I understand why this is a classic, because I love the tone of the book. I can imagine, after a Sunday sermon, and finding the darkened corner of a Nantucket tavern, Ishmael telling his tale over a pint of ale. And I, only an aspiring young sailor, half excited, and half terrified, learning the fate of Ahab’s doomed ship and crew, I try to picture the sea, the boat, the hardy men and the treacherous white whale.

Though this was a fairly difficult read, the end caused quite a sensation.

Have an excellent day!!

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