Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

What have been some of the best things about reading this novel? The worst? Which outweighs the other?

Call me...Curious

Does Ishmael seem to share, reject, or sympathize with Ahab's quest for Moby Dick?

Is this a book about whaling, or is it something else?

You gotta problem with me?

What do you consider the biggest conflict of the novel--man vs. nature, man, self, or fate?

A hero ain't nothin' but a sandwich...

Who is supposed to be the protagonist of this book??

Are you a believer?

Critics contend that this novel is full of ambiguity, even regarding Melville's views on Christianity. Is he a believer or a skeptic?

Get on the Crazy Train

Throughout the novel, it seems like the crazy people are always in control. This is especially true in the case of Gabriel and Ahab. Both of these two seem to wield a sort of demagogic influence over the hands on their respective ships. While they both preach a different sermon, their appeal stretches to nearly all but the rational thinkers such as Starbuck. All too often the crazy receive power, even the power of an entire nation (Stalin, amedemajad, and Hitler). Have you ever been influenced by a person who you know sounds crazy, but still you listen? Or have you ever been in a similar situation as the Starbuck who resisted crazy charismatic appeals?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Casting Call

If you could assemble a dream cast for a remake of the movie, who would you choose? I picture Tony Shaloub from Monk as Fedallah and Michael Clarke Duncan from The Green Mile as Daggoo. Ahab is a little harder to cast...maybe William Peterson from CSI: Las Vegas?

Who are you rooting for--Ahab or Moby?

The Stowaway

Surprisingly, it wasn't only Fedallah and his crew who snuck aboard the Pequod. Use your creative writing skills and insert other stow-aways into the story

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Butterless Man

Stubb was a butterless man aboard the Pequod. Write about a time when you were not a butterless man.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's a pleasure to be abused by you...

After Stubb is kicked by Ahab, he has a dream in which a merman tells him, "You were kicked by a great man...It is an honor, I consider it an honor...Be it your boast, Stubb, that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man of. Remember what I say; be kicked by him; account his kicks honors..."

Relate this quote to your own life--who has figuratively given you a "kick in the rear" to shape you up? Who drives you, pushes you, aggravates you, all for the purpose of helping you become a better person as a result of their intensity?

Favorite Quote or Character

Fate or Free Will?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Three Amigos

If you were a harpooner, would you rather be in the boat with Starbuck, Flask, or Stubb in command?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Land of Allusions

Can you explain one of the hundreds of allusions Melville uses in this novel?

For example, Ishmael claims "head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from the sailors on the forecastle."

This is actually a pretty funny statement, as Pythagoras instructed others on how to purify and redeem their souls, and one of his strict observances was the avoidance of beans, which cause flatulence. So, imagine if you were a Commodore, standing downwind from a bunch of sailors who violated the Pythagorean maxim and ate a bunch of kidney beans for dinner--stinky!!
When have you felt like "a fish out of water" like Queequeg when he carried a wheelbarrow or his chest, or the captain when he washed his hands in the ceremonial coconut water?

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