Moby-Dick Big Read, Chapters 6-10: Discussion

Warning! Spoiler alert for all these chapter discussions. Enter here knowing that the plot and characters will be discussed in detail.

Copying Sonoma’s comment here. (Tidying up our discussion!)


I just listened to The Sermon this morning (accidentally appropriate) & it knocked me sideways. Such terrific narration! My library has a few more titles narrated by him, so I’ll be adding those to The List.

Also in that chapter, this line jumped out at me so much I had to tweet it; for some reason the wealthy getting away with large crimes when the poor are done up hard for small ones, that resonates lately.


We still do family read most nights, and it’s about the only truly affectionate or sweet time in my current life-with-a-nearly-teenager. Last night he quelled my attempt at a second night of podcast listening. I think if I could get him past this section, to Wheelbarrow, he’d be along for the ride! I fear I’m not going to get him to the sermon, unfortunately.
I’m loving it.

I can’t get past the idea of how in the olden times (!) at night (I’ve heard!) someone would read aloud while everyone else did their “handwork” (knitting etc.) for entertainment. This obviously feels the same and I keep wondering how many people heard Moby Dick for the first time out loud like this.

Am I nuts or do some chapters have sound effects and others do not? I think The Chapel chapter started with foot crunching and wagon noises - but the next chapter didn’t?

Am enjoying looking at the picture before starting each new chapter. Very cool.

I liked the description of New Bedford and their burning of whale oil willy nilly.

The sermon chapter was amazing. Picturing everyone in church with the dead names of sailors carved on the wall, the ladder to the pulpit that was like the ladder on a boat (I think) and then the Jonah story - wow. So perfect because for the rest of the book as they (I assume) are being tossed around the sea I will picture this chapel and the people praying for the sailors.

Um. Have to say that anyone who listened to that sermon and then proceeded to get on the next charter out of Nantucket (or New Bedford - not sure where we are leaving from yet!) has to have a screw loose. Jeez. I would’ve listened to the sermon - then put on my hat, said, “Yep. We’re all going to die.” and then got a job making candles and staying put. Yikes!

So much ominousness as Ishmael heads for Nantucket. The gloom of it, the very real possibility of disaster—the stakes are set so well in The Sermon, and in other places of course.