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Status Report: “Let’s go grab some lunch,” you propose to a co-worker.
“Yeah, that sounds good,” she replies. “Where do you want to go?”
“Oh, anywhere is fine. What do you feel like?”
“I don’t care, I like everything.” She ducks her head into another person’s cubicle. “Hey, Carolyn, we’re going to lunch. Do you wanna come?”
Fast-forward seventy minutes. You’re standing in the reception area of your office, and your “lunch party” now contains enough of your colleagues to form two rugby teams. You’re not even sure who you are waiting for, though you occasionally see people wander off toward the restrooms, or back to their PCs to check their email “one last time” before you depart. You still haven’t settled on a destination. Your stomach has begun digesting its own lining out of desperation.
This is how Moby-Dick is making me feel.
At least we’ve gotten to the ship. But it has yet to sail. And as Chapter 21 is entitled “Going Aboard,” I’m guessing it’s going to remain moored for another score of pages at the minimum.
Much of the last seven chapters was devoted to the burgeoning friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg. Having shared a bed the night they met, the two are now shacking up at every opportunity, though — and I cannot stress this enough — in a completely non-homoerotic way. I say that for the benefit of any school superintendents reading this, who would ban this book from their library in a heartbeat if they knew that, so far, the novel has been much more Brokeback than Humpback.
Favorite Passage: First sentence for chapter fourteen: “Nothing more happened on the passage worthy the mentioning; so, after a fine run, we safely arrived in Nantucket.” Actually laughed out loud when I read that. Either Meleville got writer’s cramp that morning or seven chapters were excised between 13 and 14, as lack of notice-worthy events did not deter him from writing the first 80 pages.
Words looked up::
- Punctilious: Strictly attentive to minute details of form in action or conduct.
- Trump (“All hands voted Queequeg a noble trump”): A reliable or admirable person.
- Quahog: An edible clam (Venus mercenaria) of the Atlantic coast of North America.
- Galliot: A light, single-masted, flatbottom Dutch merchant ship.
- Celerity: Swiftness of action or motion; speed.