Here is a long-delayed update on my progress in the Literary monster of a classic, Moby Dick: I’m on page 135 of 549. I have been reading this book for a month, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Herman Melville is not my favorite author by any stretch of the imagination, but I have noticed couple of things this time around that I missed when I read the text back in college:
1. Ishmael’s funny. When I read the book in college, I couldn’t hear the wit in how Ishmael narrated the story. This time around (once again, thanks to an excellent reader) I find myself laughing out loud at the way things are being described.
2. The novel is not paced like a novel. I guess it’s fitting for a sea-fairing tail for the story to read more like a daily log than a novel. There’s no real “action” or forward drive in the story thus far, so getting through a chapter or two each day is all I can manage.
3. The characters are the most intriguing part of the story so far. This may not continue to be true, but so far, the characters are the most interesting thing about the story.
4. There is a lot of diversity. Ishmael encounters many different people, from Native Americans to “Negros” in the whaling profession, and there seems to be a semblance of equality among whalers that is not yet present in American society ashore.
As I am supposed to finish this book by the end of July, and since I find that the pace and story are less enjoyable than the classics I’m used to (not to mention the contemporary stories), I foresee myself doing a few reading sprints to power through it. At some point this week, I intend to devote a full hour to this book in one sitting. I’ll let you know in my next log how that went.
I’m still wondering about how to make a unit about this book more interesting than I find the book itself, but one thought did come to mind: begin the unit with another sea tale, like Treasure Island (movie), and highlight the sea-voyage aspect of the story.
Anyone else who has read the book have any ideas about how to perk up a lesson on this American classic? Please comment below.
Sincerely, Regina the Pensive Ponderer