A few things I’ve gleaned from the opening 100 pages of Melville’s opus:
- Maritime jargon such as “lee of land” and handspike.
- Surprisingly non-traditional views espoused by Ishmael: What is worship? To do the will of God. That is worship. And what is the will of God? To do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me. That is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator.
- Building a story takes time. Captain Ahab does not appear until page 85, with Moby Dick not even on the horizon.
- That said, Mr. Melville also would have benefited from an editor.