After finally scheduling a Skype date to chat, we have completed our first instalment of conscious reasonings – a fancy phrase for the chat we had – on Moby Dick.
I’m shocked that we’re getting through it, but it sure isn’t at a fast rate. I keep falling in and out of love with Ishmael, as does Meagan it seems, since he does like to ramble at times. Don’t get me wrong, we are intrigued by his narration, yet there are moments of severe skimming.
Neither of us know much about the background of this novel besides what is written on the back flap. However, the novels incorporation of the metaphysical reminds me of The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall and for Meagan, Life of Pie. Having read up until page 130, which isn’t much for a roughly 600 page novel, I can’t say whether or not the Captain of the Pequod is a human or spirit. The strange man who tried to stop Ishmael and Queequeg prior to getting on the ship, is also questionable as he seems to know too much and is slightly foreshadowing. Or sharing a premonition?
Having studied english literature the last six years, I usually know some historical context in relation to the century the book was written, or biographical backing on the author. With that said, it’s easy for me to start layering theories onto a novel. Thank goodness Meagan was willing to listen – haha!
It seemed relevant to me to mention that the novel had elements of the gothic (the threat of a monster) that are intermingled with the savage beast, often found in African literature. Not to mention that Moby Dick is often referred to as an allegory, but for what? We aren’t far enough yet to know. The layers of meaning, and context is a lot to digest. Though, that is what makes this novel so exciting.
It seems out of character for Ishmael to have befriended Queequeg. Especially since he portrayed him as a savage and beastly other. As Meagan pointed out, he is a monster that has a soul. Though he isn’t a Christian like that of Ishmael, our protagonist accepts him for who he is (along with his Idol) while standing up for him against the rest of societies prejudices.
The last part that stood out in our minds was Ishmael’s depiction of what makes Whaling an honourable profession. Like that of a butcher, who isn’t respected on account of their slaughtering of animals, Whalers are undervalued. Apparently, the seamen oil is good for your hair? On a serious note, it was an interesting depiction of the whaling industry and its importance at that time.
Our goal by the end of the novel? At least for me anyway, is to be able to properly pronounce “Queequeg.” Right now it isn’t looking to promising as we both say it differently.
To read more about how this Book Club For Two got its wings, click on: “Book Club for Two // Test Novel.”