Reading Section 4
86 Section 4 Vocabulary
Congratulations! You have finished one-half of
Section 4 has high detail on various aspects of hunting
and dissecting the whale. Do not become bogged down with the literal
detail. The detail can be interesting and exciting, but Ishmael's
application of the literal details to human endeavors and the human
condition is the exclamation mark he is trying to communicate.
Consider Chapter 66. This short chapter describes the
killing of sharks in high detail. But take note of the last paragraph.
It gives insight into Queequeq's philosophy. What is it?
Chapter 68 describes the skin and blubber of the whale
in great detail. Note the last paragraph--a direct elevation and
application to humans. Ishmael learns from Nature:....Oh, man! admire
and model thyself after the whale! Do thou too remain warm among ice.... Here is a direct lesson, and Ishmael wants us to know it. This is Romanticism--We observe Nature and we learn about ourselves.
The lessons that Ishmael learns and tries to communicate
is why you are reading. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that a poet is one who
knows the transcendental and can communicate it to others in any manner.
Ishmael has become a poet--He is now communicating lessons learned from
Nature. He is a poet in the ancient tradition.
- Read the following chapters for
lessons/elevations (applications to humans or the human
condition). Take notes, showing the literal to elevation:
Chapter 69 The
Funeral--the stripping of the whale.
Chapter 70 The
Sphynx--the beheading of the whale. Ahab teaches the
lesson here (as observed by Ishmael).
72 The Monkey Rope--the cutting in (stripping the
blubber) of the whale; also, the monkey rope itself.
Chapter 75 The Right Whale's Head--a comparison with the Sperm
Whale's Head described in Chapter 74. The lesson comes at the end
of Chapter 75.
Suggested journal entry: List at least 4 other chapters, explaining the
literal to elevation for each.
In Section 4 you will have two gams. With each
gam, make note of how Ahab acts and reacts. The sailors enjoy
the gams because it gives them an opportunity to visit with
others and receive news from home. Why does Ahab want to have
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