Conquering the White Whale and Other Moby Dick Inspired Things

They call me Alison. I finally finished reading the monster, or shall I say the Leviathan, that is Moby Dick. Diving into this staple of the Western Canon was a challenge and frustrating at times, but retrospectively I’m so pleased that I finished reading about The Great Whale.

Upon finishing the novel, I was surprisingly sad. Granted, it was refreshing to finally finish what felt like an interminable book, but since I invested so much time and energy over the course of a few weeks – the bittersweet ending of the narrative coincided to my own bittersweet sentiments.

Though the plot was slow, the prose was beautiful, musical even, and the thankfully short, digestible chapters were wonderfully descriptive. An added bonus is understanding the meaning and inspiration behind a sea of pop culture references, images, art pieces, tattoos even. In fact, The Art of Fielding, which is my favorite book I’ve read over the past 6 months, heavily references Melville’s masterpiece and it’s an obvious theme apparent in the setting, plot and characters.

If you’re on the fence about reading Moby Dick, don’t be intimidated by the sheer enormity of the novel or the level of difficulty because the catharsis and overwhelming feeling of accomplishment upon its conclusion is worth the labor. However, if you are one who can read multiple books concurrently (sadly, I never was) this is easily one that can be conquered chapter by chapter – a marathon more than a sprint. Alas, you will be grateful that you finally experienced the classic Great American Novel and more importantly, you’ll be grateful that you sailed along the Pequod and had the privilege of knowing the ever tortured Captain Ahab and the mysterious and elusive White Whale.


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