for the record, if anybody’s been trying to contact me, i haven’t had my phone in my possession, due to weird circumstances, for appx 47.5 of the last 48 hours. sorry, if it’s causing anyone problems; it wouldn’t be if i knew any of the phone numbers in it by heart.
C. Ahab as terrorist/homeland security guy: I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principle, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”
C. Ahab as everybody’s soul: “Is Ahab, Ahab? Is I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. … Where do murderers go, man! Who’s to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar?”
I was always a mark for the secession-crisis reading of Moby-Dick; i like literary criticism that acts like each book is a magic eye puzzle that you can find the one-liner allegorical answer to if you stare at the table of contents hard enough, with the right kind of eyes. I don’t know if I buy Ahab as John C. Calhoun, as the criticial essay in my copy is pimping. What got me through a fairly unhinged narrative that starts slow, stops frequently and ends abruptly is the fact that this book contains basically everything. Ahab, as a character, as symbol, as a collection of words, is guerrero-like in swinging at pretty much anything he can reach, and connecting with it. Ahab is a contradiction, sane crazy person, cognizant maniac. I like the idea of Ahab’s mission as referring to the original intents of American colonization; as Ahab sneers at the idea of whaling for profit instead of revenge, John Winthrop tugged on his jersey to show his colony was about God and not profit. The sun is my pick to click as a thing in Moby-Dick that I would write about. I’m sure that’s been done, but just as like a chit of reading at beyond a seventh grade level, my final answer is the sun. Which represents both money and truth. Or shared human experience. What do shared human experience and the sun have in common: both are fictional. My other take-home message from Moby-Dick was to fear and distrust as many things as I can get away with.