Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Moby Dick Ch. 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone, in Mountains; in Stars

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. 

In this chapter, the author continues describing artistic representations of whales.  While the previous two chapters focused on published works of fine art, this one focuses more on what might be called "folk art" representations of whales, of which here are a few examples:

1.) A hand-painted sign held by a crippled beggar in London, depicting how his leg was eaten by a whale.

2.) Carvings of whales on actual whale's teeth done by whalemen during their leisure hours.  

3.) Wooden whales, carved from driftwood.

4.) Brass whales, used as door knockers.

5.) Sheet-iron whales used on old churches as weathervanes.

6.) Petrified/fossilized whales created by the earth's geology.

7.) Mountains and earthforms that resemble whales.

8.) Whale constellations seen in starry skies.

Ishmael concludes this chapter with a wild desire to mount a whale of stars and ride it to heaven: "With a frigate's anchors for my bridle-bits and fasces of harpoons for spurs, would I could mount that whale and leap the topmost skies, to see whether the fabled heavens with all their countless tents really lie encamped beyond my mortal sight!"

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