Friday, May 6, 2016

Moby Dick Ch. 95: The Cassock

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.

A cassock is the name given to the garments certain priests wear while performing their priestly duties.  In this chapter, a different sort of cassock is worn for a different sort of “priestly” function.  This holy man is the mincer, who cuts the whale blubber into thin sheets (or “Bible leaves”) before they are melted into oil.

What is particularly unique about the mincer is his garment—the skin of the whale’s huge penis, which he fashions into a kind of robe.  Ishmael jokes: “Arrayed in decent black; occupying a conspicuous pulpit; intent on bible leaves; what a candidate for an archbishoprick, what a lad for a Pope were this mincer!”

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