I remember the day we were leaving for the beach. The house was bustling with the sounds and scenes of packing and cleaning out the refrigerator. It was a fateful day when mom ran into the Strand bookstore, before we motored out of town. Little did we, kids, know, but we were about to embark on journey that would last for many years. The vehicle of that adventure was Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. I wish I could tell you the year we started reading that book as a family, but I simply cannot remember. I do recall the countless summer vacations in which we did the dishes to the sound of my father’s voice reading out the epic tale. Needless to say, after six or seven years of wading through Ishmael’s narration, our family did not feel so congenial about the book.
Now I’m reading it for school.
It has come again. But I must endure, since the only material I retained from our family’s reading was the chapter when one of the sailors fell into a dead whale’s head. I am enjoying more of Melville’s writing. He is an expert of allusion, and his descriptions of a whaler’s life do not disappoint. I endeavor to keep an open mind about this book, even though I hardly feel civil towards it.
“There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God.” (Moby-Dick, Ch.35)