Moby Dick continued.
The Grand Armada: Chapter 87
o The Pequod is fleeing pirates and they are chasing a whale and they recognize the irony
of this situation. Conceit (in literature means an extended allegory). In this case the
conceit has to do with the state of nature, a social contract theory: people give up a
significant amount of their power (in this case to the commonwealth) in order to live in
a peaceful state. State will protect you from being robbed or killed.
o Allusion to Hobbes present here as well as the rest of the book. Hobbes said “life
outside of society is nasty brutish and short” or something like that.
o A very bleak vision of nature: devour or be devoured. Demonization of the White Whale.
o Chapter goes on to add to this. The whales are in a state of fright and panic,
consternation¸ they start forming circles. The harpooners are then caught up in that
movement and end up in the middle of those circles as if they are in the middle of the
storm. The whales are clearly the victims. It becomes peaceful and they can’t harm any
whales at this point because they are surrounded by whales that will panic and destroy
them if attacked.
o The peaceful image of nature.
o Queequeg points out that he sees a harpoon on a rope but it turns out to be an
umbilical cord. Pastoral idea. The young whales are still entering from the spiritual
world. Things are closer to this at birth because they are just entering from it.
o Called an “enchanted pond”
o There are a lot of epic similies in Moby Dick.
Spiritual anchor even in the midst of a storm. It can even protect you from the
most terrible moments. A state of inner peace. Ahab is unable to maintain this.
The Try-Works: Chapter 96
o To rend the blubber into oil. Messy.
o The crew appears to Ishmael as some kind of satani