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Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
For variety, I elect to republish this chapter here in its unsullied entirety

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0005

A few themes - the value of jokes, the laconic and taciturn style of those accustomed to slaughter, the dewy effect of the New England sun on the complexion, and the good breeding of those who sit at head of table wielding a harpoon as a dining implement.

CHAPTER 5. Breakfast.

I quickly followed suit, and descending into the bar-room accosted the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I cherished no malice towards him, though he had been skylarking with me not a little in the matter of my bedfellow.

However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing; the more's the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.

The bar-room was now full of the boarders who had been dropping in the night previous, and whom I had not as yet had a good look at. They were nearly all whalemen; chief mates, and second mates, and third mates, and sea carpenters, and sea coopers, and sea blacksmiths, and harpooneers, and ship keepers; a brown and brawny company, with bosky beards; an unshorn, shaggy set, all wearing monkey jackets for morning gowns.

You could pretty plainly tell how long each one had been ashore. This young fellow's healthy cheek is like a sun-toasted pear in hue, and would seem to smell almost as musky; he cannot have been three days landed from his Indian voyage. That man next him looks a few shades lighter; you might say a touch of satin wood is in him. In the complexion of a third still lingers a tropic tawn, but slightly bleached withal; HE doubtless has tarried whole weeks ashore. But who could show a cheek like Queequeg? which, barred with various tints, seemed like the Andes' western slope, to show forth in one array, contrasting climates, zone by zone.

"Grub, ho!" now cried the landlord, flinging open a door, and in we went to breakfast.

They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company. Not always, though: Ledyard, the great New England traveller, and Mungo Park, the Scotch one; of all men, they possessed the least assurance in the parlor. But perhaps the mere crossing of Siberia in a sledge drawn by dogs as Ledyard did, or the taking a long solitary walk on an empty stomach, in the negro heart of Africa, which was the sum of poor Mungo's performances—this kind of travel, I say, may not be the very best mode of attaining a high social polish. Still, for the most part, that sort of thing is to be had anywhere.

These reflections just here are occasioned by the circumstance that after we were all seated at the table, and I was preparing to hear some good stories about whaling; to my no small surprise, nearly every man maintained a profound silence. And not only that, but they looked embarrassed. Yes, here were a set of sea-dogs, many of whom without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great whales on the high seas—entire strangers to them—and duelled them dead without winking; and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table—all of the same calling, all of kindred tastes—looking round as sheepishly at each other as though they had never been out of sight of some sheepfold among the Green Mountains. A curious sight; these bashful bears, these timid warrior whalemen!

But as for Queequeg—why, Queequeg sat there among them—at the head of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle. To be sure I cannot say much for his breeding. His greatest admirer could not have cordially justified his bringing his harpoon into breakfast with him, and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table with it, to the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the beefsteaks towards him. But THAT was certainly very coolly done by him, and every one knows that in most people's estimation, to do anything coolly is to do it genteelly.

We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare. Enough, that when breakfast was over he withdrew like the rest into the public room, lighted his tomahawk-pipe, and was sitting there quietly digesting and smoking with his inseparable hat on, when I sallied out for a stroll.

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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:08 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Quote:
and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table—all of the same calling, all of kindred tastes—looking round as sheepishly at each other as though they had never been out of sight of some sheepfold among the Green Mountains. A curious sight; these bashful bears, these timid warrior whalemen!


I would have assumed that they had hangovers except I know this is not what Melville is implying. Only at home at sea, perhaps.

It's a shame, I was itching to know more about them.


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Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:40 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Robert Tulip wrote:
I quickly followed suit, and descending into the bar-room accosted the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I cherished no malice towards him, though he had been skylarking with me not a little in the matter of my bedfellow.

However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing; the more's the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.


Good to see that Ishmael has a sense of humour. I'm surprised the other sailors weren't getting a chuckle around the breakfast table.



Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:17 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
It's a shame, I was itching to know more about them.



Me too! I'm enjoying so far but finding the short chapters a bit tedious....I just get into the flow of the writing and then the chapter is over.



Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:52 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Yes, the chapters are short aren't they? I feel a bit as though I am back at school and we used to do 'English Comprehension'. We read a few paragraphs from a famous book (often Dickens), then we must answer 20 questions about it to prove that we had understood what we had read.

Maybe, as we get further into the book, we'll be able to discuss the ideas rather than the phraseology. I think there must be a lot in this book because in the link given by Robert Tulip, of another discussion, one person says that this book changed her life, and apologised for the cliche, but insisted that this was so. If I can find the link again, I'll repost it here.


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Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:19 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
https://readingmobydick.wordpress.com/2 ... oductions/

This is the link posted by Robert. The post I mention is by 'Michelle' on 8th Jan. 2010.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:25 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Yes , Penelope! Exactly! I am hoping that as the story gets more detailed we have more discussion. I'm actually having a hard time keeping to just one chapter a day..lol



Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:23 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Many of those at the breakfast table probably did have hangovers. I actually like the short chapters because it gives me time to reread and look up the things with which I'm not familiar.

Was Melville trying to show the leveling experience of the whaling trade? Having the "Savage" sit at the head of the table says something about the lack of class distinction.



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Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:43 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
I hadn't thought of the implications of Queequeg sitting at the head of table. That shows that he was held in respect by the other mariners. I think subconsciously I registered it and that will affect my attitude the the character in the future. Maybe.


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
These early chapters are a bit hard to discuss. They are setting the scene and introducing the characters, acquainting us non sea going folk with the ways of the ocean, ships and whaling. I am currently at chapter 101 and there is much meat to be chewed. Anyone still around for the discussion?



Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Yes I am but have got completely lost as to where I am. With no electric, the battery on the Kindle goes, and although I have made notes, they are completely disorganised and in several different places. I think I'll just read the chapters as they are discussed, because I got quite far into the book. I love the picture of Quequeg spearing the steak


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
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heledd wrote:

With no electric, the battery on the Kindle goes, and although I have made notes, they are completely disorganised and in several different places. I think I'll just read the chapters as they are discussed, because I got quite far into the book. I love the picture of Quequeg spearing the steak


I'm muddled too. Reading the book, reading the posts and not quite knowing what or if I can contribute. But I do like to think of you out there Heledd, and of sharing the impact of the book with one another in our very diverse circumstances.

What I am trying to say is:- I think it is a privilidge to share thoughts with you....so, let us persevere.....please dear Heledd and Saffron.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Penelope wrote:
Quote:
heledd wrote:

With no electric, the battery on the Kindle goes, and although I have made notes, they are completely disorganised and in several different places. I think I'll just read the chapters as they are discussed, because I got quite far into the book. I love the picture of Quequeg spearing the steak


I'm muddled too. Reading the book, reading the posts and not quite knowing what or if I can contribute. But I do like to think of you out there Heledd, and of sharing the impact of the book with one another in our very diverse circumstances.

What I am trying to say is:- I think it is a privilidge to share thoughts with you....so, let us persevere.....please dear Heledd and Saffron.

I think I know what you both mean. I am finding that discussing this book by chapters somehow diminishes the discussion. I think maybe discussing themes or characters or action would be better topics for discussion. And I agree, lets persevere!.



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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
I've been keeping up chapter by chapter , enjoying the reading but having nothing to say (except that I keep wanting to say:Wow what wonderful writing! How does he do that? ).
So I'm glad others are struggling too!



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Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:56 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 5 Breakfast of Champions
Chris27 wrote:
I've been keeping up chapter by chapter , enjoying the reading but having nothing to say (except that I keep wanting to say:Wow what wonderful writing! How does he do that? ).
So I'm glad others are struggling too!

The writing is wonderful, some of the best!



Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:05 pm
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