Commonplace Book By Noah Wigington


The Poet by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m Nobody! Who are you? by Emily Dickinson

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickinson

I’m ceded, I’ve stopped being Their’s by Emily Dickinson

This was a Poet - It is That by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson

I heard a Fly buzz - when I Died by Emily Dickinson

I cannot live with You by Emily Dickinson

How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Canto I by Ezra Pound

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe

At Melville's Tomb by Hart Crane

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

Anskan House by Brian Evenson

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

The Poet by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Pursed the game with joyful eye” - his eagarness to get to the topic at hand.

“Searched with Apollo’s privilege” - it was easy to find what he was looking for; almost given to him.

“There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion" - he’s growing up to become a man; he’ s seeing right from wrong and can understand the difference; self reliance is a big topic.

"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think” - self empowerment, he makes the point that whatever he does is a reflection on him and does not care what other people think.


The poem could also be taken as looking inward, getting in touch with your inner child, or pursing somthing and connecting with one’s inner child in the making. He makes connections through contemporary art, language, etc; a young person in the mid 1900’s, he was known as a radical visionary (he says you’re the new generation go and make American Literature; even the rain the poet has dominion over everything he creates.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood” - infancy is pure, highly in touch with one’s inner feelings; being able to channel one's inner, youthful spirit during adulthood is someone that can be considered 'the lover of nature.'

“Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobler's trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar's garret. Yet line for line and point for point, your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.” - this self-empowering quote is about being self-made, building your own future, and taking matters into your own hands.

“But if a man be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” - the nighttime sky is a wonderful thing to behold because this quote talks about how it is a gateway into a sublime, or blissful, alternate universe created by God.

I’m Nobody! Who are you? by Emily Dickinson

"How dreary to be somebody! -- How public, like a frog" - the poem is turning to a negative outlook on someone being well known. A frog is known to croak, but in this poem it is taken to mean someone that likes to talk a lot - maybe about themselves.

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickinson

"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" - either the speaker is imaging her own death or something within her brain has died. This could be taken as a tragic memory being lost or forgotten or as her being mentally depressed.

“then I heard them lift a box, and creak across my soul” - the people in the story are saddened by what is happening. The box could be referring to a casket and when the ushers lifted the box it made a awful, sad noise that reminded the people of the death.

“and being, but an ear” - they had no other option but to listen to what was being said or happening.


An interesting thought would be that the speaker is possibly learning information that they didn’t understand until the end of the poem.

I’m ceded, I’ve stopped being Their’s by Emily Dickinson

“The name they dropped upon my face, With water, in the country church, Is finished using now.” - it is customary for the woman in a marriage to take the name of her husband during the ceremony in a church. This quote claims that she done using his last name as hers and relinquishes it from her own.

"Baptized, before, without the choice, But this time, consciously, of Grace— Unto supremest name— Called to my Full—The Crescent dropped— Existence's whole Arc, filled up, With one small Diadem." - she states that she didn't have a choice to be baptized, but now she is taking control and becoming independent in front of God. The diadem refers to her ring that holds the symbol or connection between her and her husband that she now is getting rid of.


This poem is about leaving and not taking the man’s or husband’s name or standing behind him in any fashion. She is taking control and becoming her own person.

This was a Poet - It is That by Emily Dickinson

“Distills amazing sense, From Ordinary Meanings” - refers to the act of turning every day situations or objects into poetry makes the writter a poet.

"Of Pictures, the Discloser - The Poet - it is He" - visual images are what poets sometimes end their poems with, so by doing this makes the person even more of a poet.

Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson

“We slowly drove - he knew no haste” - death creeps up on us all and takes one’s life without fail, inevitable. Death is always in control and does not happen quickly, it knows 'no haste.' The pace of the poem is slow and reflects how the speaker feels about how death slowly creeps up on us.

"Because I could not stop for Death" - death is going to happen eventually and we are unsure of when it will happen; we can't choose when death comes. This quote also creates a mellow lack of fear of death. If one knows it's coming, why worry?

"We paused before a House that seemed, A Swelling of the Ground" - the house can be taken for a church in this quote and the swelling of the ground is what happens after a coffin is placed beneath the earth. It is over; the end of life and the poem.

I heard a Fly buzz - when I Died by Emily Dickinson

"I heard a Fly buzz – when I died" - the past tense in the quote should give the hint that the speaker is already dead, so she is assumed to be speaking from beyond the grave.

“for that last onset - when the King, be witnessed - in the room” - refers to seeing both God (or Death) in the room come to take thier soul.

“the eyes around - had wrung them dry” - everyone has cried, the onset is the last beginning (start of the afterlife). The King can be God or Death. The fly gets between the poet and thier senses; cannot see after death, only darkness.

I cannot live with You by Emily Dickinson

"And I – Could I stand by And see You – freeze – Without my Right of Frost – Death’s privilege?" - she expresses that if she cannot live with her love she is dead, but also she cannot die with him because death is a private act.

"Nor could I rise – with You – Because Your Face - Would put out Jesus’ – That New Grace" - she cannot be next to him because the image of his face as saturated her vision of Jesus, which is referred to as glorious or something of paradise.

"And were You – saved – And I – condemned to be - Where You were not – That self – were Hell to Me" - She states that she would be in Hell if he were saved and her not, or they both were saved separately - she could not live with herself.


The main character cannot live with the other person becuase he does not believe or has done any wrong, therefore she cannot be with them in the next life.

How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston

"But changes came in the family when I was thirteen, and I was sent to school in Jacksonville. I left Eatonville, the town of the oleanders, as Zora. When I disembarked from the river-boat at Jacksonville, she was no more. It seemed that I had suffered a sea change. I was not Zora of Orange Country any more, I was now a little colored girl. I found it out in certain ways. In my heart as well as in the mirror, I became a fast brown-warranted not to rub nor run." - when she leaves the town she’s not the life, the spirit of everyone anymore, she is like all the other colored girls; she’s not special anymore. Lost in the segregation - unlike where she was friendly with both races before.

"Music. The great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him. He has only heard what I felt. He is far away and I see him but dimly across the ocean and the content that have fallen between us. He is so pale with his whiteness then and I am so colored." - this is a really color-inspired quote as she refers to her dark, pigmented skin as being full of emotion and life. The whiteness is a white person is spoken of as being boring or dull, when compared to her black skin.

“The world to be won and nothing to be lost” - there’s nothing to lose in her situation, but only to gain from the world; she can’t stoop much lower.


The “color” is the emtion she is feeling, not skin color. She thinks white people don’t feel this passion for life and music as she does.

Self Empowerment is a key topic in this story.

Zora refers herself to a cosmos, like Whitman, and is speaking highly about herself.

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

“Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor dicarded, I see throug the broadcloth and gingham whether or no, And am around, tenacious, acquistive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away” - you can do no wrong; he can see the good from within their soul.

“the youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill, I peeringly view them from the top” - Whitman is the witness in this situation.

Page 32 - the overall theme of the passage is that Whitman is the giver, will take all the bad, and will stoop to any level to make someone feel accepted

“With music strong I come, with my cornets and my drums, I play not marches for accepted victos only, I play marches for conquer’d and slain persons” - he applys himself to everyone, no matter thier status.

“What blurt is this about vitrue and about advice? Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indiffferent, My gait is no fault-finder’s or rejecter’s gait, I moisten the roots of all that has grown” - he does not take sides, he is neutral on all matters.

“the scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer” - armits, known to smell bad, are even pure (saying that even the nastiest thing can be clean and pure)


In the beginning of the story he talks about how he is the greatest because he is in touch with everything, and everyone, however, on page 25 he empowers the reader through motivation and encouragement.

The end of the story he states in an urgent way; dispersing himself into the elements of nature himself.

Young Goodman Brown by Nathnaiel Hawthorne

“There maybe a devilish Indian behind every tree,’ said goodman Brown, to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind himi, as he aadded, ‘What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!” - he is very fearful that anything bad could happen at any second; always on the lookout.

"The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds—the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians; while sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveler, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn. But he was himself the chief horror of the scene, and shrank not from its other horrors." - the double meaning behind this quote is that all of nature is laughing at him and the fact that he's scared of himself as well.

"On he flew, amid the black pines, brandishing his staff with frenzied gestures, now giving vent to an inspiration of horrid blasphemy, and now shouting forth such laughter, as set all the echoes of the forest laughing like demons around him. The fiend in his own shape is less hideous, than when he rages in the breast of man." - gives the image of a creepily, laughing evil demons, and even a vision of himself, laughing at him from dark, eerie places.

"It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveler was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features. Still they might have been taken for father and son." - the older guy could be himself in the future or his father at a younger age.

"Poor little Faith!" thought he, for his heart smote him. "What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought, as she spoke, there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done to-night. But, no, no! 't would kill her to think it. Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven." - these bad dreams that Faith is having is probably foreshadowing a bad omen for Goodman Brown.


The “Faith” that he is refering to could be his wife whose name or presence is simply just the idea of faith much like his good and evil companions.

The older guy looked wise and knowledgeable.

The forest was “peopled” symbolizing crowdedness and clustered; not empty.

The imagery towards the end of the story was about the devine person coming out of the flames in a God-like manner.

The portrayal of the people describes the people sent to Hell for commiting “sins.”

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus-but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.” - here the main character admits to wanting to be more social, however, the husbands supresses her feelings to the point where she feels bad about want to be lively and social in society.

"[Jennie] is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession. I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!" - shows that Jennie embodies the ideal role for a woman in this era in society. Being 'enthusiastic, peppy, and nurturing are all qualities of a good wife or woman, not a woman who likes to write.

"He said that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on." - these physical confinements mirror the narrator's confinements in society.

“It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronouned enough to constantly irritate, and provoke study, and when you follow th elame, uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide-plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contraditions.” - this is the point in the story where she begins to lose her mind. She starts to think of suicide, or give the reader that impression, and so the visualization of the woman behind the yellow wallpaper begins.

“At night in any kind of light, in twiliight, candlelight, lamplight,a nd worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be. I didn’t realize fora long time hwat the thing was that showed behind, - that dim sub-pattern, - but now I am quite sure it is a woman.” - she starts to comprehend that her place as a woman in society is behind bars, kept from being independent of a man, and always taught to be minimal in society.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards

“The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.” - imagery of angry God being pleased by shooting someone with a bow and arrow.

“Some have imagined and pretended that God’s promises are effectual for a man in his natural state, if that man is truly earnest in his seeking and knocking. But it is visibly clear that God is under no obligation to keep such a person from eternal destruction, not even for one moment. It doesn’t matter how religious the man is or how many prayers he makes. Until he believes in Christ, God is not obligated in any way to protect him.” - reinstates God not accepting someone unless they believe in Christ with their whole being, not just saying that they do; must come from the heart.

“That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.” - God is shown to be ruthless in this quote. The imagery portrays God letting people 'slip' or die and go to Hell or be lost forever. He is unforgiving.


Three important themes throughout the story:

1. Corrupt sinners face a feaful judgment

2. Time is short for the unrepentant; God’s righteous wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly

3. It is only God’s free choice that extends the ‘day of mercy’ and provides another oppertunity to repsond to his call

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Pages 936 - 968

“It testified to Douglass’s awareness that women were a powerful force within the abolitionist movement.” - women play an important role in abolishing slavery.

“YES! shouted thw whole mass, wiht an energy so startling, that the ruthless tyrants south of Mason Dixion’s line might almost have heard the mighty burst of feeling, and recognized it as the pledge of an invicinible determination, on the part of those who gave it, never to betray him that wanders, but to hide the outcast, and firmly to abide the consequences.” - powerful quote about people living on or below the Mason Dixion line (who are known to have the majority of slaves) hearing the power of the pople trying to escape slavery.


Dcoumentary - Douglass craets a persona paired with being a great public speaker

Douglass as witness, as a persona/voice, as a pro-stylist as self-reliance, as a representative/the “poet,” as hereo, as a survior (Job) - Moby Dick

Douglass does not write for money, but for freedom and African Americans

pg. 983 - desire for self-improvement; to break free; it’s not garunteed that they would be free; image of the unknown of being terrified. The panic, what’s waiting themif they escape; more insideous, eats away at your subconcious, lack of knowing crates a horrible fear.

Group Readings:

Idenity - the boy is taken away from his mother at an young age to deter any affection between slaves. This could not only orphan slaves and prevent uprisings, but to break thier spirits

Unknowability is a means of control

Important Passages:

pg. 946 - the means of knowing

pg. 946 - maternal bond with the child is important, but is taken away, problem of communication arrises

pg. 951 - music and sorrows; deep meaning - de-humanizing; songs - blues - sadness

pg. 960 - reading “i now understand” is a turning point

pg. 964 - writting self-reliance, learns writting form the shipyard, leads to freedom

Pages 968-1002

"A representative could not be prouder of his election to a seat in the American Congress than a slave on one of the out-farms would be of his election to do errands at the Great House Farm." - Fredrick Douglass is being ironic here as he states that it is an hour to go to the Great House Farm, however, once there you are still a slave.

"It is impossible for me to describe my feelings as the time of my contemplated start drew near. I had a number of warmhearted friends in Baltimore,--friends that I loved almost as I did my life,--and the thought of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It is my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends. The thought of leaving my friends was decidedly the most painful thought with which I had to contend." - friendship is a common theme in this story as Douglass states that it is something that he cares deeply about, however, but to escape slavery he had to leave his friends behind. He is also saying that some slaves remained in slavery only because they could not leave their friends and loved ones.

Canto I by Ezra Pound

"And he strong with the blood, said then: 'Odysseus

'Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,

'Lose all companions.' And then Anticlea came.

Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,

In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.

And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outward and away

And unto Circe." - depicts Odysseus returning with Neptune angry and going out past the Sirens into the underworld.


This story is an overall representation of Odysseus going down to the underworld.

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman

“What is it then between us? What is the count of th escores or hundreds of years between us?” - he’s connecting, or stating, what are but years between us (himself and the reader); We see the same thing and nothing has changed over the years so time is irrelevant.

“Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than mast-hemm’d Manhattan?” - he compares the beautiful Manhattan skyline to a ship at full sail.

“Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! Stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!” - he calls for Manhattan to shine at its brightest, or calls upon the island to metaphorically move.


Seagull - half in light, half in water - Whitman is in the past and future at the same time through his writing; shows that he’s the same as the reader.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Chapters 1 - 6

Chapter 1:

“Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces – though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did, besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment” - Ishmael claims that he went on the Pequod becuase it was his fate to do so and becuase of his love for the sea and interest in whaling.

Chapter 2:

“It seemed the great Black Parliament sitting in Tophet. A hundred black faces turned round in their rows to peer; and beyond, a black Angel of Doom was beating a book in a pulpit. It was a negro church; and the preacher’s text was about the blackness of darkness, and the weeping and wailing and teeth-gnashing there. Ha, Ishmael, muttered I, backing out, Wretched entertainment at the sign of "The Trap!" - this quote does not tie into the theme of Moby Dick, however, it gives a good representation of the racism that took place when the book what written.

Chapter 3:

“I stood looking at him a moment. For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself – the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian” - this is an interesting decision Ishmael makes during the story as it is unknown why he dropped his opinion of Queequeg and decided not to judge him.

Chapter 4:

“Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through. - It’s the Black Sea in a midnight gale. - It’s the unnatural combat of the four primal elements. - It’s a blasted heath. - It’s a Hyperborean winter scene. - It’s the breaking -up of the ice-bound stream of Time” - is very descriptive of the white whale that the story is about without saying the words ‘whale.’ It shows how terrifying it can be through imagery.

“Ignorance is the parent of fear, and being completley nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, I confes I was now as much afraid of hiim as it was the devil himself who had thus broken into my room at the dead of night” - fear he is feeling, but will not act on it.

“But Queequeg, do you see, was a cratue in the transition state-neither caterpillar nor butterfuly. He was just enough civilized to show off his outlandishness in the strangest possible manner. His education was not yet completed. He was an undergraduate” - portrays Queequeg as not yet developed, how he was a lot to learn to be considered a civilized human being.

Chapter 5:

“A curious sight; these bashfulbears, these timid warrior whalemen!” - he was perplexed by the fact that these grizzly men were acting not like their tough exterior, but as shy men.

Chapter 6:

“Go and gaze upon the iron emblematical harpoons round yonder lofty mansion, and your question will be answered. Yes; all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea” - men in Moby Dick like to describe thier riches as being worked for or captured with honor.


Adjectives to describe Ishmael: impulsive, nervous, judgmental, reflective, homorous

Adjectives to describe Queequeg: polite, thoughtful, primal, transitional

A common theme is friendship/fraternity: community; also a theme is noble savage

Key Elements/Talking points:

pg. 38 - he knows the basics of politness, enough to get the hint of being polite

civilization corrupts; turns us into noble savages

pg. 36 - humor, taunts hi sown people/religion

pg. 521 - Melville sees this gloom in the Hawthorne, Melville uses this inspiration to show him this great theme for Moby Dick

pg. 526 - it is better to fail in orginality, than to succeed in initation

pg. 18 - the sea is vast or a threshold for Ishmael, freedom - thingsare changing rapidly, interconnectivity - community/mixture of people; ship becomes a mythic space

pg. 20 - money is a big theme, whale oil was expensive

Sublime - bliss, mises the beautiful with the terrifying - describes the sea

pg. 37 - the quilt, they come very close “married” is best friends, Queequeg’s arm is like the quilt, they all become knit together; a patchwork quilt

Chapters 7 - 18

Chapter 7:

“But somehow I grew merry again. Delightful inducements to embark, fine chance for promotion, it seems – aye, a stove boat will make me an immortal by brevet. Yes, there is death in this business of whaling – a speechlessly quick chaotic bundling of a man into Eternity. But what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me. And therefore three cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat and stove body when they will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot.” - Ishmael here calls attention to two different perils: danger to the body and danger to the soul. Basically saying that if the ship is destroyed that’s okay becuase his immortal soul will be saved.

Chapter 9:

“But WHAT is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches? Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God – never mind now what that command was, or how conveyed – which he found a hard command. But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do – remember that – and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists." - Father Mapple parallels the Biblical prophet Jonah to whaling and teaches the lesson that obeying God isn’t just difficult; sometimes it will be challenging to one’s character.

Chapter 10:

”I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth – pagans and all included – can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship? – to do the will of God – that is worship. And what is the will of God? – to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me – that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world.” - Ishmael shows is religious tolerance; to go against something out of the normal of his religion.

Chapter 16 Notes:

Quakers found in Nantuckett are not fearful and seek adventure. They also invest in whaling ships so each bounty produced by the ship each person will take a share from.

Chapter 17:

“I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody’s religious obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a toad-stool; or those other creatures in certain parts of our earth, who with a degree of footmanism quite unprecedented in other planets, bow down before the torso of a deceased landed proprietor merely on account of the inordinate possessions yet owned and rented in his name. I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these things, and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals, pagans and what not, because of their half-crazy conceits on these subjects. There was Queequeg, now, certainly entertaining the most absurd notions about Yojo and his Ramadan; – but what of that? Queequeg thought he knew what he was about, I suppose; he seemed to be content; and there let him rest. All our arguing with him would not avail; let him be, I say: and Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.” - Ishmael’s attempt towards accpetance in this quote shows his act on modernism of his ideas of other religions. However, he still can’t quite kick the thought of other religions such as paganism, “pagans and what not” as being “half-crazy.”

Chapter 18:

“"I don’t know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeting," said I; "all I know is, that Queequeg here is a born member of the First Congregational Church. He is a deacon himself, Queequeg is." - tries to instill the value of a higher religious position into Queequeg.

"Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied, "I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here, and all of us, and every mother’s son and soul of us belong; the great and everlasting First Congregation of this whole worshipping world; we all belong to that; only some of us cherish some queer crotchets no ways touching the grand belief; in THAT we all join hands." - Ishmael makes a valid point that the bond of community is more important that just simply working with other people in one place.


What is the point of Father Mapple’s sermon? - the whale in Jonah is the wrath of God, forsheaowing that danger could be in the future.

2 Lessons to take away: sin and make sure you repent; pg. 49 “Pilot of the living God” - he puts himself as a captain early version of Ahab

pg. 49 “WiIlful Disobedience”

Chapter 7 - the plaques symbolize danger on the sea

pg. 45 - the plaques itself is illegible, it cannot communicate its grief

pg. 45 the quote is about being lost at sea, into the deeps is to risk it all

“The Bitter Blank” - whitness (opacity) of the whale; Ahab trying to conquer the whale

pg. 46 - reoccuring youth

pg. 49 self reliance; to disobey yourself is to disoby God, dishonoring with nature

pg. 53 “the Engulphed”

pg. 55 Queequeg compared to George Washington, a noble hero

pg. 56 - seeable future

pg. 72 - the whale has taken his leg away

Chapters 19 - 27

Chapter 24:

“And, as for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me; if I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I shall do anything that, upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honour and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.” - Ishmael’s already imagining the prestige that his manuscript will garner when it’s finished.

Chapter 26:

“Starbuck was no crusader after perils; in him courage was not a sentiment; but a thing simply useful to him, and always at hand upon all mortally practical occasions. Besides, he thought, perhaps, that in this business of whaling, courage was one of the great staple outfits of the ship, like her beef and her bread, and not to be foolishly wasted. Wherefore he had no fancy for lowering for whales after sun-down; nor for persisting in fighting a fish that too much persisted in fighting him. For, thought Starbuck, I am here in this critical ocean to kill whales for my living, and not to be killed by them for theirs; and that hundreds of men had been so killed Starbuck well knew.” - Starbuck considers whaling something to make a living, not to be emotionally invested into the job. He’s brave when he needs to be and withholding when needed. He doesn’t enjoy killing, but considers it a living.

Chapter 27:

“The third mate was Flask, a native of Tisbury, in Martha’s Vineyard. A short, stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning whales, who somehow seemed to think that the great leviathans had personally and hereditarily affronted him; and therefore it was a sort of point of honour with him, to destroy them whenever encountered. So utterly lost was he to all sense of reverence for the many marvels of their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and so dead to anything like an apprehension of any possible danger from encountering them; that in his poor opinion, the wondrous whale was but a species of magnified mouse, or at least water-rat, requiring only a little circumvention and some small application of time and trouble in order to kill and boil.” - Flask, unlike Starbuck or Stubb, takes whaling personally and gets heated during the hunt. He is driven by violent grudges against whales which keeps him on edge.

pg. 88 - “what’s to be, will be” - a sign that their future or fate is set in stone and there’s no changing it

pg. 91 - “unless it’s before the Grand Jury” - foreshadowing his death

pg. 96 - “plunged inot fate like the lone Alantic” - taking a step and there’s no going back; head first


Elijah - frantic, uncomposed, ominous

Teshtego - well-composed, intemidating

Duggoo - cultured, tough, mighty

Starbuck (first mate) - loyal, dependent, superstitutious, wise, careful

Stubb (second mate) - easy going, calm, collected

Flask (third mate) - quiet, timid, shy

pg. 103 - Democratic Dignity

Chapters 28 - 36

Chapter 28:

“Nevertheless, ere long, the warm, warbling persuasiveness of the pleasant, holiday weather we came to, seemed gradually to charm him from his mood. For, as when the red-cheeked, dancing girls, April and May, trip home to the wintry, misanthropic woods; even the barest, ruggedest, most thunder-cloven old oak will at least send forth some few green sprouts, to welcome such glad-hearted visitants; so Ahab did, in the end, a little respond to the playful allurings of that girlish air. More than once did he put forth the faint blossom of a look, which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a smile.” - Ahabs exterior is softened by the weather. Even though he’s borderline crazy, he can still feels the powers of nature in the breeze and sunlight.

Chapter 32:

“What then remains? nothing but to take hold of the whales bodily, in their entire liberal volume, and boldly sort them that way. And this is the Bibliographical system here adopted; and it is the only one that can possibly succeed, for it alone is practicable.” - Moby Dick is a whale that can only be understood if treated like a book; categorized.

“Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would not be here, and at once, perfected. You cannot but plainly see that I have kept my word. But I now leave my cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower. For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught – nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!” - Through the cracks of this quote we can see the reoccuring anxieties of Melville wondering if his book is good enough.

Chapter 35:

“Lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Wickliff’s sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over.” - Ishmael feels himself becoming more Zen and feeling lost in the natural world, losing track between self and the real world.

Chapter 36:

“"Vengeance on a dumb brute!" cried Starbuck, "that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous. Hark ye yet again – the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event – in the living act, the undoubted deed – there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me." - Starbuck makes the point that taking revenge on a simple animal is not just pointless, but stupid. In response, Ahab sees the situation as the tangible representation of ”some unknown but still reasoining thing.”

Chapters 37 - 46

Chapter 37:

"What I’ve dared, I’ve willed; and what I’ve willed, I’ll do! They think me mad – Starbuck does; but I’m demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that’s only calm to comprehend itself! The prophecy was that I should be dismembered; and – Aye! I lost this leg. I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer." - Ahab comes to terms that he is in fact, insane. He shows the scale of his madness by comparing it to madness himself.

Chapter 41:

"Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations.” - he is one with the whale physically and spiritually.

“Such a crew, so officered, seemed specially picked and packed by some infernal fatality to help him to his monomaniac revenge.” - the crew chooses was picked by fate to help Ahab get revenge.

Chapter 42:

"Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title "Lord of the White Elephants" above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion." - whiteness, in this case, is defined to as a divine being that is pure, god-like.

“Nor even in our superstitions do we fail to throw the same snowy mantle round our phantoms; all ghosts rising in a milk-white fog—Yea, while these terrors seize us, let us add, that even the king of terrors, when personified by the evangelist, rides on his pallid horse.” - there is no place to escape the terrors residing in one's mind.


- Whiteness enhances beauty

- Whiteness has been made significant of gladness, for amount the Romans a white stone marked a joyful day

Chapters 47 - 60

Chapter 49:

“Can't you twist that smaller?" said Flask. "Yes, that's the law. I should like to see a boat's crew backing water up to a whale face foremost. Ha, ha! the whale would give them squint for squint, mind that!” - Ishmael is beginning to think that the voyage is now more of a joke. He talks about his fate being in the hands of the person starring the ship and it's starting to eat at him.

Chapter 59:

"Almost forgetting for the moment all thoughts of Moby Dick, we now gazed at the most wondrous phenomenon which the secret seas have hitherto revealed to mankind. A vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color, lay floating on the water, innumerable long arms radiating from its centre, and curling and twisting like a nest of anacondas, as if blindly to clutch at any hapless object within reach. No perceptible face or front did it have; no conceivable token of either sensation or instinct; but undulated there on the billows, an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life." - the giant squid is also a wonder to the characters in Moby Dick. The squid means the simple essence of life.

Chapters 61 - 70

Chapter 63:

"Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs. So, in productive subjects, grow the chapters." - gives insight to the structure of Moby Dick, when a conflict arises, it ends up going into multiple directions instead of just a single solution.

Chapter 68:

"It has already been said, that it is stript from him in long pieces, called blanket-pieces. Like most sea-terms, this one is very happy and significant. For the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a real blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Indian poncho slipt over his head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy blanketing of his body, that the whale is enabled to keep himself comfortable in all weathers, in all seas, times, and tides.” - Sin of the shark, hieroglyphics of the whale skin; "counterpart" - the quilt, the whale is its own community; the whale is composed of all these parts like the Pequot. Eyes on the side of its head; can see two different things, the whale is a cosmos - can relate to Whitman: "I am large, a container of multitude."

Chapter 70:

“It was a black and hooded head; and hanging there in the midst of so intense a calm, it seemed the Sphynx's in the desert. "Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this world's foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; hast slept by many a sailor's side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw'st the murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell into[…]” - Ahab wants the secret knowledge of the whale. The whale goes where the people lost at sea go to; the underworld. Can relate to when Pip goes to the underworld.

Chapters 71 - 82

Chapter 72:

"So strongly and metaphysically did I conceive of my situation then, that while earnestly watching his motions, I seemed distinctly to perceive that my own individuality was now merged in a joint stock company of two; that my free will had received a mortal wound; and that another’s mistake or misfortune might plunge innocent me into unmerited disaster and death. Therefore, I saw that here was a sort of interregnum in Providence; for its even-handed equity never could have sanctioned so gross an injustice. And yet still further pondering ...I saw that this situation of mine was the precise situation of every mortal that breathes; only, in most cases he, one way or other, has this Siamese connexion with a plurality of other mortals. If your banker breaks, you nap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die. True, you may say that, by exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances of life. But handle Queequeg’s monkey-rope heedfully as I would, sometimes he jerked it so, that I came very near sliding overboard. Nor could I possibly forget that, do what I would, I only had the management of one end of it." - this passage leads into the interconnection of fates between the characters. If one person does something then there will be a reaction that effects everyone.

Chapters 74 - 75 Notes:

- The whale is understood as super natural

- Two eyes in the back = double disadvantage, two eyes in the front = double advantage

- The whale is a double meaning, two types of visions = community of perspective and hyper-seeing

Chapter 79:

"Champollion deciphered the wrinkled granite hieroglyphics. But there is no Champollion to decipher the Egypt of every man’s and every being’s face. Physiognomy, like every other human science, is but a passing fable. If then, Sir William Jones, who read in thirty languages, could not read the simplest peasant’s face, in its profounder and more subtle meanings, how may unlettered Ishmael hope to read the awful Chaldee of the Sperm Whale’s brow? I but put that brow before you. Read if it you can." - Melville speaks out through Ishmael to dare the reader to interpret the meaning or symbolism of the whale and makes sense of the novel as a whole.

Chapters 78 - 79:

- Queequeg diving down - rebirth; Jonah and The Whale - relates to Tashego inside the whale head going over the edge of the boat

Chapters 83 - 94

Chapter 93:

"In outer aspect, Pip and Dough-Boy made a match, like a black pony and a white one, of equal developments, though of dissimilar color, driven in one eccentric span. But while hapless Dough-Boy was by nature dull and torpid in his intellects, Pip, though over tender-hearted, was at bottom very bright, with that pleasant, genial, jolly brightness peculiar to his tribe; a tribe, which ever enjoy all holidays and festivities with finer, freer relish than any other race. For blacks, the year’s calendar should show naught but three hundred and sixty-five Fourth of Julys and New Year’s Days. Nor smile so, while I write that this little black was brilliant, for even blackness has its brilliancy; behold yon lustrous ebony, panelled in king’s cabinets. But Pip loved life, and all life’s peaceable securities; so that the panic-striking business in which he had somehow unaccountably become entrapped, had most sadly blurred his brightness; though, as ere long will be seen, what was thus temporarily subdued in him, in the end was destined to be luridly illumined by strange wild fires, that fictitiously showed him off to ten times the natural lustre with which in his native Tolland County in Connecticut, he had once enlivened many a fiddler’s frolic on the green; and at melodious even-tide, with his gay ha-ha! had turned the round horizon into one star-belled tambourine." - shows that black men are developed just as much as their white counterpart, however, it does reflect back on the time when blacks were thought to be happy go lucky. When Pip is related to Ahab, instead of someone lesser, he gains stature.

"But it so happened, that those boats, without seeing Pip, suddenly spying whales close to them on one side, turned, and gave chase; and Stubb’s boat was now so far away, and he and all his crew so intent upon his fish, that Pip’s ringed horizon began to expand around him miserably. By the merest chance the ship itself at last rescued him; but from that hour the little negro went about the deck an idiot; such, at least, they said he was. The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God." - Pip finally goes mad and realizes that God is in charge of destiny.

Chapters 95 - 110

Chapter 99:

Chapter 37 - "I leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where'er I sail. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass.” - All ego; Ahab sees himself in the coin as a volcano or mountain, tower, and ocean, all big things.

Chapter 102:

"Speak, weaver!—stay thy hand!—but one single word with thee! Nay—the shuttle flies—the figures float from forth the loom; the freshet-rushing carpet for ever slides away. The weaver-god, he weaves; and by that weaving is he deafened, that he hears no mortal voice; and by that humming, we, too, who look on the loom are deafened; and only when we escape it shall we hear the thousand voices that speak through it. For even so it is in all material factories. The spoken words that are inaudible among the flying spindles; those same words are plainly heard without the walls, bursting from the opened casements." - The problem is what is behind the surface. The imagery of Ishmael measuring the whale - a God to a tribe; comparable to Ahab getting measured for his new leg.

Chapter 108:

"No, but put a sky-light on top of his head to illuminate inwards.” - Ahab admits the trip is to go out to get Moby Dick, he is now also looking 'inward' into himself.

Chapter 109:

"And I was not speaking or thinking of that at all. Begone! Let it leak! I'm all aleak myself.” - Compare this to As I Lay Dying, individual crisis points, the body as a leaky thing, the corpse left to rot; get the body in the ground ASAP. Ahab admits that he's sort of messed up, Ahab is mutilated, he's leaking or broken; Starbuck to Ahab - beware of Ahab, Ahab.

Chapters 111 - 119

Chapter 113:

"In no Paradise myself, I am impatient of all misery in others that is not mad. Thou should’st go mad, blacksmith; say, why dost thou not go mad? How can’st thou endure without being mad? Do the heavens yet hate thee, that thou can’st not go mad?" - Ahab presents madness as a choice—here, he suggests that it’s the only reasonable reaction to the unreasonable suffering that human beings have to endure in the world.

Chapter 114:

"Oh, grassy glades! oh, ever vernal endless landscapes in the soul; in ye,—though long parched by the dead drought of the earthy life,—in ye, men yet may roll, like young horses in new morning clover; and for some few fleeting moments, feel the cool dew of the life immortal on them.” - Progression is nonlinear, much like the book; doesn't tell the story straight, like the eyes of the whales looking doubly.

“Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.” - their souls are lost, much likes the lives of men lost at sea.

Chapters 120 - 131

Chapter 124:

"Look ye, for yourselves, if Ahab be not lord of the level loadstone! The sun is East, and that compass swears it!" One after another they peered in, for nothing but their own eyes could persuade such ignorance as theirs, and one after another they slunk away. In his fiery eyes of scorn and triumph, you then saw Ahab in all his fatal pride.” - The corruption of the compass is the corruption of Ahab himself; he is God, controlling the heavenly forces

Chapter 127:

“There's a sight! There's a sound! The grey-headed woodpecker tapping the hollow tree! Blind and dumb might well be envied now. See! that thing rests on two line-tubs, full of tow-lines. A most malicious wag, that fellow. Rat-tat! So man's seconds tick! Oh! how immaterial are all materials! What things real are there, but imponderable thoughts? Here now's the very dreaded symbol of grim death, by a mere hap, made the expressive sign of the help and hope of most endangered life. A life-buoy of a coffin! Does it go further? Can it be that in some spiritual sense the coffin is, after all, but an immortality-preserver! I'll think of that. But no. So far gone am I in the dark side of earth, that its other side, the theoretic bright one, seems but uncertain twilight to me. Will ye never have done, Carpenter, with that accursed sound? I go below; let me not see that thing here when I return again. Now, then, Pip, we'll talk this over; I do suck most wondrous philosophies from thee! Some unknown conduits from the unknown worlds must empty into thee!” - What things real, but things that you can't know; the invisible; change an image of death to life.

Chapter 128:

"Avast," cried Ahab—"touch not a rope-yarn"; then in a voice that prolongingly moulded every word—"Captain Gardiner, I will not do it. Even now I lose time. Good-bye, good-bye. God bless ye, man, and may I forgive myself, but I must go. Mr. Starbuck, look at the binnacle watch, and in three minutes from this present instant warn off all strangers: then brace forward again, and let the ship sail as before.” - Ahab is crowning himself; his ego is large at this point; the compass of the Captain of the Rachel is true; abides by the low of humanity.

Chapter 131:

"But the suddenly started Pequod was not quick enough to escape the sound of the splash that the corpse soon made as it struck the sea; not so quick, “indeed, but that some of the flying bubbles might have sprinkled her hull with their ghostly baptism. As Ahab now glided from the dejected Delight, the strange life-buoy hanging at the Pequod's stern came into conspicuous relief.” - death is a common theme, tinkering towards the end; a lot of fixing; little projects are popping up.

Chapters 132 - 135

Chapter 132:

"What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare? Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. By heaven, man, we are turned round and round in this world, like yonder windlass, and Fate is the handspike." - Ahab doesn't even know what's driving him; he's gone mad at the thought that a higher force or power is controlling his fate; this contradicts his self-empowered ego.

Chapter 134:

"Ahab is for ever Ahab, man. This whole act’s immutably decreed. ’Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates’ lieutenant; I act under orders. Look thou, underling! that thou obeyest mine." - Ahab isn't real at all - he's just an extension of God's will.

Chapter 135:

"Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!" - Ahab is going to keep battling the whale at all cost; even though he knows he's doomed.

The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop


- The narrator takes pity on the fish because of all the things it has been through.

- The hooks are all the times it has gotten away, why stop it form living now? Something so weathered as this fish deserves to continue living.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor


- Key contradiction is that she (the grandma) is a hypocrite

- The grandma is religious and polite - no morals

- The grandma is manipulative, seizing every chance to go to where she wants to go

- The myth of the "good ole days" - evil; she thought what was good back then was actually bad

- The grandma has been saved, do you buy it or is the Grandma trying to manipulate the misfit?

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

"And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage." - the fact ash the old man is still living infuriates the main character, drives them to want to kill the old man more.

"And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only." - The main character waited until the old man was close to having a heart attack and drove him over the edge to death.

"I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder! "Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more!" - Her conscientious wouldn't let her talk to the police without thinking about what she did. The heart beat metaphorically beat louder than her thoughts.

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

"And this maiden she lived with no other thought, Than to love and be loved by me." - love is the only important thing to the writer, he does not care about anything else but his Annabel Lee.

"But our love it was stronger by far than the love, Of those who were older than we--" - maybe the speaker is saying that no one, even the people who were supposed to know better, could ever love like he loved Annabel Lee.

The Fall of The House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe


- How is Usher a version of Moby Dick? - The house is like Moby Dick; mystical; hazy; scary; Th narrator is like Ishmael, analyzing the situation, cautious, and Rodrick is Ahab, seeing things, apparitions.

- Real or a dream? - Dream, the guy's last wish before his death, is to see the narrator. Maybe it's him in the future wanting to remember how lively he used to be; Narrator didn't have a name - could be Rodrick.

- What's the real scare? - The real scare is that Rodrick is actually him in the future.

At Melville's Tomb by Hart Crane


As Crane depicts the ocean that Melville is observing, it is a place both of death and of eventual resurrection as men overcome their fears and create a faith in something higher. Water has traditionally been viewed as connected to rebirth in baptism and other rituals. As Melville looks into the surf, he sees “the dice of drowned men’s bones” and thinks of the wrecks and lost lives in the depths.

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

"I prefer not to," [Bartleby] replied in a flutelike tone. It seemed to me that, while I had been addressing him, he carefully revolved every statement that I made; fully comprehended the meaning; could not gainsay the irresistible conclusion; but, at the same time, some paramount consideration prevailed with him to reply as he did." - the Narrator tries to comprehend the incomprehensible: Bartleby's decision-making process.

"I would prefer not to," said he. I looked at him steadfastly. His face was leanly composed; his gray eyes dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Hat there been the least uneasiness, anger, impatience or impertinence in his manner; in other words, had there been anything ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises. But as it was I should have as soon thought of turning my pale plaster-of-Paris bust of Cicero out of doors." - Bartleby's decision is so decisive that it's inhuman – his choices are so definite that his mind is unchangeable, a quality that makes them impossible to question.

"I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the clearest tone I could assume; but in quite as clear a one came the previous reply, "I would prefer not to." - this strange interaction demonstrates the essential problem of language in this story – it's both immensely powerful and incredibly futile. Bartleby's statement has an almost physical impact on the Narrator, but it doesn't necessarily communicate anything clearly.


- Writing; Authority - Boss; has an easy gig; living off the fat of the economy; it would be work to go fire Bartleby

- Is it a refusal?

- The edicate of American capitalism; the story takes place on Wall Street, the heart of American society

- Bartleby is the image of a perfect worker; he's divine; the boss comes up with an excuse for Bartleby that his "eye's hurt"

- "I would prefer not to;" inscrutability - it's hard to make sense of it; the bitter blanks

- Bartleby is an image of the human being

Anskan House by Brian Evenson

"He and his father had spoken during his daily visits, his father in good spirits despite everything, but whatever they had said to one another had dropped out of Sefton’s head immediately, so as to leave more room within his skull for the smell and the stain." - he couldn't take his mind off the decay of the father's leg; Anskan is a double of the meaning of the yellowish wound 'an-scan.'

"It is a token of the dead or, worse still, of the living.” She paused. “That’s how she explained it to me, anyway,” she said." - a token of the dead; similar to Moby Dick's "the doubloon" when the token can be taken for many things.

"Save his leg, thought Sefton as he crept back upstairs. He hadn’t realized that that his father might lose his leg, nor was he exactly sure what that meant, lose the leg. Cut it off? But then how would his father walk? And if his father couldn’t walk then who would work for them? His mother? How would she manage as a framer? She didn’t even know how to hold a hammer. And if his mother was out working, who would feed them?" - is Sefton being selfish or heroic? Is he thinking only of himself or is he thinking of what he can do to save the family?

“How did this happen?” his mother wanted to know, but he just shook his head. “Why didn’t you tell us?” she asked. “I didn’t think it was anything,” he lied. “You’ll get better,” his father said confidently, and patted his head. “If I could get better, you can too. You’re young, your body is strong. There’s nothing to worry about.” Sefton didn’t bother to answer. From the foot of the bed his sister gave him a strange look. “It’s strange you both had the same illness,” she said slowly. The whole family turned to look at her. “Maybe a genetic flaw,” said his father. “Runs in the family.” He turned and wagged his finger. “The rest of you, be careful.” - the father is the twin of Sefton; the is the opposite (hopeful for everything now); he is being selfish in ignorance; a monster or average Joe?

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

“I’ll ride on ahead," Jewel says. "You can follow where I am." He lifts the horse. It shrinks, bowed; he leans to it, speaking to it, lifting it forward almost bodily, it setting its feet down with gingerly splashings, trembling, breathing harshly. He speaks to it, murmurs to it. "Go on," he says. "I aint going to let nothing hurt you. Go on, now.” - The mother is treated like the horse, Darl says that the horse is Jewel's mother.

“With Jewel - I lay by the lamp, holding up my own head, watching him cap and suture it before he breathed - the wild blood boiled away and the sound of it ceased. Then there was only the milk, warm and calm, and I lying calm in the slow silence, getting ready to clean my house.” - she's thinking about her affair with the doctor; she's just had her baby and she cut the umbilical cord; there's a sense of unity in the whole picture.

“He did not know that he was dead, then. Sometimes I would lie by him in the dark, hearing the land that was now of my blood and flesh, and I would think: Anse. Why Anse. Why are you Anse.” - unity comes into play again; the world of masks are fake; the unknowable; Ahab is trying to figure out these masks within Moby Dick; "All visible objects are masks;" the river is like the cut in the cord.

“I would think about his name until after a while I could see the word as a shape, a vessel, and I would watch him liquefy and flow into it like cold molasses flowing out of the darkness into the vessel, until the jar stood full and motionless: a significant shape profoundly without Me like an empty door frame; and then I would find that I had forgotten the name of the jar. I would think: The shape of my body where I used to be a virgin is in the shape of a and I couldn't think Anse, couldn't remember Anse.” - the unknowing; Pip goes into the depths; the River is in a fluid state and Anse's brain is in a fluid state as well.

“And at night it is better still. I used to lie on the pallet in the hall, waiting until I could hear them all asleep, so I could get up and go back to the bucket. It would be black, the shelf black, the still surface of the water a round orifice in nothingness, where before I stirred it awake with the dipper I could see maybe a star or two in the bucket, and maybe in the dipper a star or two before I drank. ” - empty door frame is like a lonely echo; Dwey Dell has an earthy name.

“As though the clotting which is you had dissolved into the myriad original motion, and seeing and hearing in themselves blind and deaf; fury in itself quiet with stagnation.” - they are basically liquid themselves; a blind pasteboard mast.

Created By
Noah Wigington


Created with images by DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library" • imanka - "an open Book" • esiul - "plant nature live" • Unsplash - "sea shore rock" • Foundry - "life beauty scene" • pabak sarkar - "The fist" • ziggysart2 - "Original Oil Painting on Canvas Panel 2" • webandi - "candle light candlelight" • mikadago - "common fly macro insect" • mripp - "Window" • basykes - "Zora Neale Hurston" • 50 Watts - "Portrait of Walt Whitman, 1878" • cliff1066™ - "Nathaniel Hawthorne" • Vijayanarasimha - "edge room color combination" • Greyerbaby - "sunset sun nature" • PublicDomainPictures - "chain iron metal" • darkday. - "Bats Attack" • Unsplash - "brooklyn bridge new york landmark" • Christopher.Michel - "Humpback Whales" • skeeze - "goldfish carassius fish" • FrankWinkler - "ruin old house decay"

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