Please Pass the Calabash

04 Apr

calabash – n.  large gourds from a tropical American evergreen tree of the same name

Classical Usage:  Melville uses this word a couple of times.  First, Queequeg describes a punchbowl made from a calabash.  Interesting, since his island of Kokovoko is supposedly in the South Pacific.  It seems we’ve discovered another Melville geographic discrepancy.   Then later, Elijah mentions a story about Captain Ahab spitting in a silver calabash.  According to my endnotes we’ll never learn the rest of that story, so who knows what Melville meant?

Classically Mad Usage:  If I take our dear author’s lead it seems I can use this word in any way bowl-like way I want.  And if anyone tries to correct me I’ll just take my defense next to Herman.


Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Moby-Dick


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7 responses to “Please Pass the Calabash

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I wish I could take some time out for reading, but I must first load my dishwasher with dirty calabashes from breakfast.

  2. Christine

    April 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

    So, could we use our calabashes when we hunt for Easter eggs?

  3. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    A calabash full of colored eggs would make a lovely centerpiece for the holiday table.

  4. Christina Joy

    April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’m just calabashed over by the amount of work I have to do this week. I don’t even have time to take my kids calabashing.

  5. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I know what you mean. I just sat down to a calabash of chocolate ice cream to relieve some stress.

  6. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Oh Herm! What a time we are having with your big whale book.

    I wonder about Mrs. Melville. Something tells me she was an eye-roller.


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