The Quest for the Great White Whale

by Christina Moon, F10

It’s Whaling Week here at Williams-Mystic and we are diving headfirst into our interdisciplinary studies of this great topic. In literature class, we’ve finally reached Melville’s classic Moby Dick on our reading list and are making our way through his complex and masterful novel. We spend three weeks in total with Ishmael, Queequeg, Captain Ahab, and the rest of the crew aboard the Pequod and now in week two, we’re just about to break through to the action packed chapters that we’ve all been building up to. Even better, we have two events coming up that will really bring the story to life.

First, on Thursday we head out on our New Bedford field seminar where we will be able to see one of the communities that Melville illustrates in Moby Dick. One of the most important whaling ports in the world during the 19th century, it is a can’t-be-missed spot while we’re learning about the history and background of this book. We’re excited to see the church and pulpit encountered by Ishmael and Queequeg at the beginning of their journey and also sing some whaling ballads with Don Sineti, the chantey man at Mystic Seaport.

Then next Tuesday night, F10 presents “Moby in Labaree’s Belly”. Usually held in the Charles W. Morgan whale ship located on the grounds of the seaport, we’re relocating this year because of the restoration work that’s currently going on. All students will perform a dramatic reading of a selection from Moby Dick complete with costumes, a set, and perhaps some creative interpretations of Melville’s original work. We’ve even heard of some Star Wars-themed scenes done by past classes so who knows what this year will bring.

Lots to look forward to! Happy Whaling Week everyone!

Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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