While reading Moby Dick, I have been selecting a quote which seems particularly pertinent to each chapter, in the hopes that at the conclusion I will have a collective summary of all the important bits. A summary, I hope, that will help tie it all together in my mind. I am posting them in groups of 10, so as not to be overwhelming to any of us, and so here are the quotes from Chapters 21-30:
Chapter 21: It was now clear sunrise. Soon the crew came on board in twos and threes: the riggers bestirred themselves; the mates were actively engaged; and several of the shore people were busy in bringing various last things on board. Meanwhile Captain Ahab remained invisibly enshrined within his cabin.
Chapter 22: ‘God bless ye, and have ye in His holy keeping, men,’ murmured old Bildad, almost incoherently. ‘I hope ye’ll have fine weather now, so that Captain Ahab may soon by moving among ye – a pleasant sun is all he needs, and ye’ll have plenty of them in the tropic voyage ye go. Be careful in the hung, ye mates. Don’t stave the boats needlessly, ye harpooneers; a good white cedar plank is raised full three per cent within the year.’
Chapter 23: But in that gale, the port, the land, is that ship’s direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality; one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and through.
Chapter 24: …many a veteran who has freely marched up to a battery, would quickly recoil at the apparition of the sperm whale’s vast tail, fanning into eddies the air over his head. For what are the comprehensible terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God!
Chapter 25: But the only thing to be considered here, is this – what kind of oil is used at coronations? Certainly it cannot be olive oil, nor macassar oil, nor castor oil, nor bear’s oil, nor train oil, nor cod-liver oil. What then can it possibly be, but the sperm oil in its unmanufactured, in polluted state, the sweetest of all oils?
Chapter 26: Looking into his (Starbuck’s) eyes, you seemed to see there the yet lingering images of those thousandfold perils he had calmly confronted through life.
Chapter 27: What, perhaps, with other things, made Stubb such an easy-going, unseating man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world full of grave peddlers, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe.
Chapter 28: More than once did he (Ahab) put forth the faint blossom of a look, which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a smile.
Chapter 29: Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.
Chapter 30: How could one look at Ahab then, seated on that tripod of bones, without bethinking him of the royalty it symbolized? For a Khan of the plank, and a king of the sea, and a great lord of Leviathans was Ahab.
I can’t imagine ever being bored by this novel. I have heard it is lengthy, and tiresome beyond compare, but I have yet to reach those parts.