Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moby Dick Ch. 35: The Mast-Head

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 describes the “Mast-Head” of the Pequod, which is the perch near to top of the sails where sailors take turns being on the look-out for whales.  Ishmael describes it as a pleasant place to meditatively reflect on life and spiritual matters: “By the blending cadences of waves with thoughts…at last he loses his identity, takes the mythic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some indiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it.  In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space…There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God.”


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