Monday, April 25, 2016

Moby Dick Ch. 92: Ambergris

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, Ishmael pontificates upon the strange substance extracted from the bodies of dead whales called ambergris, which was used in making perfumes, scented candles, and hair powders in the 19th century.  It’s strange that such pleasant-smelling stuff should be extracted from “the inglorious bowels of a sick whale.”  This chapter shows that many of the products of “polite society” and “civilization” are taken in rather brutal and unpleasant ways, a fact which remains true today.

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