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Day 14

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Chapters 56-61

March 31, 2022 by Yiyun Li

“In the soul of every man there lies an insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life.” The half known life—how terrifying: what are the horrors of the other half?

“When the painted canvas cover is clapped on the American line-tub, the boat looks as if it were pulling off with a prodigious great wedding-cake to present to the whales.” What an odd image to equate catching and killing a whale to a marriage.

The encounter with the squid, “an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life” is so eerie that it comforts one to think that seen through the squid’s eyes, we, the earthly, rigid, and purposeful humans, must look equally strange.

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