Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet
by Tony Hoagland
Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet Exploration Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Better to be on board the Pequod,
with a mad one-legged captain
living for revenge. (40-42)
The captain is crazed about revenge, but at least he's "living" for it! Our speaker seems to see his passive life as a sort of death-in-life. Meanwhile, this imagined exploration and wildness is a sort of life in the face of death. And having the whole boat at the whim of a crazy captain? Well, we guess it means that the voyage is all about feeling. It's not about following a strict schedule, or even about having an economically-successful whaling voyage. It's about the captain's emotions, his desire to kill this one darn whale. Our speaker, so far detached from emotion, finds this idea appealing.
What a relief it would be
to hear someone in the crew
cry out like a gull,
Oh Captain, Captain!
Where are we going now? (48-52)
That last question really drives home for us that the idea of exploration is really big for our speaker. It's a huge part of the appeal. He doesn't want his horizon bounded by specific arrival times, by routines and the like. He wants the open ocean and the possibility that their course might change direction at any time.