Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Moby Dick Ch. 24: The Advocate

The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read.

This chapter is one of many digressions in the novel, in which the author pontificates on the topic of whaling.  The chapter is called “The Advocate” because in it the author acts like a lawyer seeking to defend whaling against the various criticisms leveled against it, which are as follows:

1.) To the charge that whaling is “butchery,” the author replies that war is far bloodier, yet soldiers are regarded as heroes.

2.) To the charge that whaling has no great author/chronicler, he cites Job, who first described the great “Leviathan.”

3.) To the charge that there is no dignity in whaling, the author responds that he learned more aboard a whale-ship than at college, “for a whale-ship was my Yale college and my Harvard.”

The author also gives three positive aspects of whaling, which are as follows:

1.) Whaling is a highly profitable part of the world economy.

2.) Whalemen are often the first explorers of remote regions.

3.) In a subsequent brief chapter called “Postscript,” the author points out that whale-oil is often used in the coronation of kings and queens, and therefore whaling is a regal thing.


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