Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet
by Tony Hoagland
Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Why is there a contrast between being in a passenger plane and being on a whaling boat? Shouldn't flying up at 30,000 feet and at hundreds of miles per hour be exciting, too? Why isn't it exciting, according to our speaker?
- How do the lines that begin with "Imagine" (line 31 and on) fit into the poem? What are these ruminations on the span of a human life all about?
- Why Moby-Dick? Could our speaker be reading just about any book, or is there something about this one in particular that makes it necessary?
- Why does the poem jump around so much (from the present, to the past, to the abstract, to a scene in our speaker's book)? What does that add to the poem, and what does it tell us about our speaker?
- What's the relationship between the violence in Moby-Dick and our speaker's attraction to that way of life?
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