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‘My Eye Upon His Skull’
Under a Troubled Master-Eye 13: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Chapter 39
© 2019 James LaFond
CHAPTER 39. First Night-Watch.
(Stubb solus, and mending a brace.)
Stubb, Second Mate, smart enough to realize they are doomed, as does Starbuck, but wise enough to find sanity in humor, congratulates himself on being aware and sane, unlike Starbuck, whose awareness has driven him near to madness and Flask, dunce of the officers. For the 21st century reader, Stubb represents the “red-pilled” man finding succor on humor as his “black-pilled” counterparts sink into mindful misery.
“I heard not all his talk with Starbuck; but to my poor eye Starbuck then looked something as I the other evening felt. Be sure the old Mogul has fixed him, too. I twigged it, knew it; had had the gift, might readily have prophesied it—for when I clapped my eye upon his skull I saw it. Well, Stubb, wise Stubb—that’s my title—well, Stubb, what of it, Stubb? Here’s a carcase. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing. Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles!
“…What’s my juicy little pear at home doing now? Crying its eyes
out?—Giving a party to the last arrived harpooneers, I dare say, gay as a frigate’s pennant, and so am I—fa, la! lirra, skirra! Oh—
“We’ll drink to-night with hearts as light,
To love, as gay and fleeting
As bubbles that swim, on the beaker’s brim,
And break on the lips while
“A brave stave that—who calls? Mr. Starbuck? Aye, aye, sir—(Aside)
he’s my superior, he has his too, if I’m not mistaken.—Aye, aye, sir, just through with this job—coming.”
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Ruben Chandler     Nov 22, 2019

Conrad's Niցցer of the Narcissus is an awesome read as well. I liked Melville's Typee, Billy Budd, and the other earlier stuff. Moby is a cool read too.
James     Nov 25, 2019

Typee was one of my first book reviews—really loved it.
Ruben Chandler     Nov 25, 2019

People don't realize Melville was actually marooned.....self-marooned. He and his partner absconded from their whaler and spent months with nude Polynesian women. What could possibly go wrong?
James     Nov 26, 2019

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