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Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
Link: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0022

""Man the capstan! Blood and thunder!—jump!"—was the next command, and the crew sprang for the handspikes."

The Pequod is piloted out to sea. "At last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided. It was a short, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor... Charity ... had placed a small choice copy of Watts in each seaman's berth."

"Spite of this frigid winter night in the boisterous Atlantic, spite of my wet feet and wetter jacket, there was yet, it then seemed to me, many a pleasant haven in store"

A final incoherent prayer from Bildad before he heads back to port with the pilot ship: "Don't whale it too much a' Lord's days, men; but don't miss a fair chance either, that's rejecting Heaven's good gifts... If ye touch at the islands, Mr. Flask, beware of fornication. ... Be careful with the butter—twenty cents the pound it was"

And the journey is underway: "Ship and boat diverged; the cold, damp night breeze blew between; a screaming gull flew overhead; the two hulls wildly rolled; we gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the lone Atlantic."

Still no sign of Captain Ahab...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildad Bildad was one of Job's three friends in the Book of Job. His intent was consolation, but he became an accuser, asking Job what he has done to deserve God's wrath.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peleg Peleg (Hebrew: פֶּלֶג / פָּלֶג) lived to the age of 239 years. (Genesis 11:16-19) According to the Septuagint, Phaleg lived to an age of 339 years. (Septuagint Genesis 11:16-19)
Peleg is a common surname in Israel, also being the root lettering for sailing . The meaning of Peleg in English is "brook", a little river.

According to Genesis 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 1:19, it was during the time of Peleg that "the earth was divided" – traditionally, this is often assumed to be just before, during, or after the failure of Nimrod's Tower of Babel. The meaning of the earth being divided is usually taken to refer to a patriarchal division of the world, or possibly just the eastern hemisphere, into allotted portions among the three sons of Noah for future occupation, as specifically described in antiquarian and mediaeval sources.


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
I'm sure many readers have tried to find the significance in Melville's choice of biblical names for his characters. There might not be much intent by him to mirror the qualities of those characters, though. It was common enough for parents to choose such names just because they wanted to use a traditional source (however, are Bildad, Peleg, and Ahab supposed to be given names or surnames?) We have Peleg himself in Chapter 16 ripping Ishmael for prejudging Ahab based on the unsavory Bible figure he's named after. "Captain Ahab did not name himself."



Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:02 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
I think this chapter really does bring home the isolation these sailors must have felt being thousands of miles away from any sort of land. But at the beginning of the voyage, they feel invincible ‘…we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor’
Excuse my ignorance – but what is a lay? Ismael says ‘I was comforting myself, however, with the thought that in pious Bildad might be found some salvation, spite of the seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay;’
Bildad is nostalgic for his seafaring days, but religion should not interfere too much with profits. ‘Don’t whale it too much a ‘Lords’ days men; but don’t miss a fair chance either, that’s rejecting Heaven’s good gifts.


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Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:38 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
This matter of the "lay" was the subject of Chapter 16, toward the end of it. A "lay" designates the fraction of the profits from the voyage that everyone on board will receive. The higher number the lay, the less the man will receive. Peleg believes that Ishmael deserves the 275th lay, but Bildad is a tight-wad and argues for the 777th lay (a biblical number the religious old skinflint likes). It wasn't clear to me then, but Bildad apparently prevailed, and Ishmael is to get a pittance, unless the voyage is enormously successful.



Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:02 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
heledd wrote:
Excuse my ignorance – but what is a lay? Ismael says ‘I was comforting myself, however, with the thought that in pious Bildad might be found some salvation, spite of the seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay;’

A lay is a share of the profit. This might help, I copied from a website (the way I figure everything out):

The owners of ships typically received 60 to 70% of the profits, with the rest divided between captain and crew. The division is known as their "lay," and it can vary from 1/14 for a captain, to 1/20 for a mate, to 1/210 or 1/190 for a "greenhand" or "boy." "Greenhand" is a term used for the men, or more often boys, on their first whaling voyage.

The site is The Grinnell Family Associaltion and the page is titled: A few Grinnell men of New Bedford and their connections to the whaling trade Part 1. So, you see it is Whaling related. Pretty interesting and worth a look.
http://www.grinnellfamily.org/index.php ... Itemid=103



Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:08 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
DWill wrote:
This matter of the "lay" was the subject of Chapter 16, toward the end of it. A "lay" designates the fraction of the profits from the voyage that everyone on board will receive. The higher number the lay, the less the man will receive. Peleg believes that Ishmael deserves the 275th lay, but Bildad is a tight-wad and argues for the 777th lay (a biblical number the religious old skinflint likes). It wasn't clear to me then, but Bildad apparently prevailed, and Ishmael is to get a pittance, unless the voyage is enormously successful.


How'd your post beat mine??? I guess I'll just go with great minds think alike!



Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:09 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
Yes i remember now!! Sorry. Did you think Bildad and Peleg were playing good guy/bad guy there, with Ismaela getting less than he had anticipated, but still pleased he had not got even less?


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
DWill wrote:
Bildad apparently prevailed, and Ishmael is to get a pittance

DWill says Bildad beat Peleg, and the shucksters gave a lay of 1/777. I thought it was the other way around! Talk about pea and thimble! I'm sure they left Ishmael convinced that Peleg had prevailed and he was due a lay of 1/275. Merry Christmas indeed.

Now I have seen 666 in the Bible, but not 777. There is so little difference you might wonder why Bildad did not just show more honesty and offer the devil's share. For profit of $1000 it is a difference of 21 cents. Three years risking life and limb for wages of $1.28. What did the Quakers think of slavery?


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 22 Merry Christmas
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
Bildad apparently prevailed, and Ishmael is to get a pittance

DWill says Bildad beat Peleg, and the shucksters gave a lay of 1/777. I thought it was the other way around! Talk about pea and thimble! I'm sure they left Ishmael convinced that Peleg had prevailed and he was due a lay of 1/275. Merry Christmas indeed.

Now I have seen 666 in the Bible, but not 777. There is so little difference you might wonder why Bildad did not just show more honesty and offer the devil's share. For profit of $1000 it is a difference of 21 cents. Three years risking life and limb for wages of $1.28. What did the Quakers think of slavery?

Robert, I have the "advantage" of reading the Norton Critical Edition. The footnote reads, "Biblical number, from Genesis 5:31: 'And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years; and he died.'"

Looking back at the chapter, I see that the "final word" on Ishmael's compensation appears to be Peleg's saying, "Well then, down ye go here, Ishmael, for the three hundredth lay."



Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:19 am
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