Words from the achiever
“Moby Dick, there was a story. The longer, the better. I remember kids who were reading Moby Dick in a class and would be just complaining about, “Do we have to know everything about the whaling industry? Do we have to read about the blubber and all the rest of it?” I couldn’t get enough of it, you know. I couldn’t get enough of it.”
About the book
On board the whaling ship Pequod, a crew of wise men and fools, renegades, and seeming phantoms is hurled through treacherous seas by a crazed captain hell-bent on hunting down the mythic White Whale. As the “great flood-gates of the wonder-world” swing open, Melville transforms the little world of the whale-ship into a crucible where mankind’s fears, faith and frailties are pitted against a relentless fate. Teeming with ideas and imagery, and with its extraordinary, compressed intensity sustained by a buoyant, mischievous irony and by moments of exquisite beauty, Melville’s masterpiece is both a great American epic and one of the most profoundly imaginative creations in literary history.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.