Bet you thought I'd abandoned Moby-Dick, didn't you? Nope, I'm up to Chapter 87 now. And I've diligently plowed through a seemingly endless number of "cetology chapters" as they're called. Chapters that contain more mind-numbing factual information about whales than anyone would ever want to know. But, in the exciting part of the book, the hunt for Moby-Dick is in full swing!
So I guess it's time for me to weigh in with my two cents worth on The Big Question -- what does the great white whale symbolize? Everyone agrees that Moby-Dick represents something huge and ultimately uncontrollable by humans -- Fate, God, Evil, Totalitarianism, etc. But I think that Moby-Dick represents something even more overwhelming, unthinkable or frightening than any of those things.
I take this as a clue. In a letter about Moby-Dick sent to his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville said, "I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb."
[Tomorrow -- all is revealed!]