Me v. Moby: Part Eleven
“Thou should’st go mad, blacksmith; say, why dost thou not go mad?” Ahab asks.
Perth tells Ahab that you cannot scorch a scar. Instead of going crazy, Perth became hard and unfeeling.
7:48 p.m. Starbuck offers Ahab his final option.
“God is against thee, old man,” he warns. “Let me … make a fair wind of it homewards, to go on a better voyage than this.”
Starbuck suggests Ahab return home. Ahab, like Starbuck, has a wife and child in Nantucket. Instead of looking for revenge on the ocean, he could find solace at home.
Of course, Ahab ignores him.
8:22 p.m. A brief summary: A typhoon strikes the Pequod. No one dies, but it convinces Starbuck that the voyage is doomed. He even considers killing Captain Ahab to escape his mad mandate.
The Pequod loses its life boat. Queequeg’s coffin is offered as a substitute.
8:33 p.m. Ahab has chewed the scenery for much of this book. He shouts and strikes his sailors. He rails against God and claims to be immortal. But he is never more chilling than when he refuses to look for another captain’s lost son because he finally has wind of Moby Dick.
There’s no shouting, no punching, just a cold-blooded refusal.
8:55 p.m. “From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop.”
9:27 p.m. Starbuck, on the second day of chasing Moby Dick: “Never, never wilt thou capture him, old man—In Jesus’ name no more of this, that’s worse than the devil’s madness. Two days chased; twice stove to splinters; thy very leg once more snatched from under thee; thy evil shadow gone—all good angels mobbing thee with warnings—What more wouldst thou have?”
9:32 p.m. I hear my wife watching television downstairs. It’s a commercial.
“Give me that filet of fish! Give me that fish!”
9:52 p.m. “From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
9:56 p.m. “The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth? Because one did survive the wreck.”