Sunday, January 3, 2016

Moby Dick Ch. 40: Midnight, Forecastle

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.

Moby Dick is a mosaic of literary styles and experiments, as is demonstrated by this chapter, which is structured like a play or even an opera—it presents a multitude of voices of sailors as they work, and rest, and sing, and poke fun at each other.  What is exceptional about this chapter, aside from its musical/dramatic quality, is the extreme diversity of voices.  The ship Pequod is a microcosm of a highly diverse America—the voices of many races and ethnicities are given equal weight. 

The sailors are Dutch, French, Icelandic, Maltese, Sicilian, Chinese, Native American, Indian, Danish, Tahitian, Portuguese, English, African, Spanish, Irish, and from all quarters of the United States—from Long Island to Nantucket.  As this chapter demonstrates, Moby Dick is a literary experiment in diversity.

From a stage adaptation of Moby Dick.

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