Chapter 80 out of 136 a.k.a Why isn’t it over yet?!
Please, make it stop.
But alas, I have to keep reading. I can’t leave a classic novel unfinished when there’s a list I have to tick if off from, but if I had a Tardis my first job would be to go back and punch Herman Melville in the face.
If it could just be uniformly boring, I could kind of doze through it, but there are some bits that are good, interesting nuggets of whale info (500 gallons of spermaceti wax out of one whale’s head, awesome, and, er, yuk), sudden deaths and bits about sharks, but these just go to throw into relief the utter boringness of the rest of the book.
Musing. Melville does a lot of musing. In the last few chapters he’s not given us much in the way of a sea update, no examples of weird behaviour from Ahab or weevil-filled meals, no, he’s explained why whales wouldn’t look right if they had noses (right now, someone with a bong in their hand has also just come to that conclusion) and why phrenology is looking at the wrong body part, as you can tell more about by manipulating a man’s spine than his skull. Imagine if Bram Stoker had broken off halfway through Dracula to give us his opinion over which is better, jam or marmalade?
I suppose leeway has to be give to many old novels as to have a piece of work uniform and recognisable as a novel is pretty new idea. Cervantes was one of the first to write a proper big fat book, and shorter stories and epic poems were what people mainly knew, who is to say or not to say what could go into a book and how it could be arranged? Especially back then when there weren’t that as many examples about. It’s my modern sensibilities of wanting a plot and progression that made sense, that are making this hard.
I will also give leeway to Melville as he was actually quite hot, with fantastic eyes. And I like me a man with a beard.
It’s also important that people know there was once a Hanna-Barbera cartoon featuring Moby Dick. That’s nice. And weird.