The Wrap-up – First Day

04 May

At my husband’s suggestion I took a mind-clearing run, showered with my favorite Whale Roadkill body wash, and our little blogging trio set sail to Starbuck‘s for our end-of-book-answer-all-the-questions-celebrate-the-finish gathering.

We settled our stacks into a cozy corner, scoped out the beverage options, and quizzed the barista on the origin of his employer’s name.  “Uh, yeah, that was in our training, um . . . ah . . . it’s from that book, right?” Our encouraging nods gave him just the confidence he needed to sheepishly mumble, “Moby-Dick?”  We erupted in cheers for the unsuspecting coffee server, grabbed our liquid indulgence, and took our places for an evening of intense discussion.

And intense it was, friends.  We packed so much into that hour and a moiety discussion that this wrap-up will take not one post, but three, yes, three posts to give you all the goods on Moby-Dick.  And, we’re fairly certain that we’ve just dipped our grande-sized cups into the great sea of MD discussion.

We did not settled on the number three merely for the sake of convenience.  No, no, no, You see, three is the key.  Check it out:

3 words in the first sentence,  “Call me Ishmael.”
3 inns in New Bedford
3 memorials in the Whaleman’s Chapel
3 whaling ships from which to choose
3 year voyage on the Pequod
3 captains – Bildad, Peleg, and Ahab
3 masts
3 mates
3 harpooneers
3 parts to the novel- on shore, whaling dictionary, pursuit of Moby Dick
3 BOOKS of whales in Chapter 32 Cetology
3 chapters on the depiction of whales in art
3 years that Ahab spent on land during his 40 year whaling career
3 counselors for Ahab – Fedallah, Pip, and Starbuck
3 times leg losses – to MD the first time, when it ‘undermines’ him, and on the second day of the chase
3 days they chase the White Whale

all pointing to:

Ahab – the Diabolical Trinity

As he studies the doubloon in Chapter 99 he makes sure we can see it, too,

There’s something ever egotistical in mountain-tops and towers, and all other grand and lofty things; look here, – three peaks as proud as Lucifer.  The firm tower, that is Ahab; the volcano, that is Ahab, the courageous, the undaunted, and victorious fowl, that, too, is Ahab; all are Ahab; and this round gold is but the image of the rounder globe, which like a magician’s glass, to each and every man in turn but mirrors back his own mysterious self.

Ahab is quite different than our other questing madman friend, Don Quixote.  The captain isn’t errant, he’s evil.  And where there is pure evil, there must be pure good.  You know who the Good is, right?  Not Ishmael, not Pip, not even Starbuck.

Moby Dick

Yup.  Don’t worry, we’re not done exploring that angle, but for today, please return to the ship with whatever is left of your whale boat, think about what you have learned today, and help us identify more triple occurances.  Surely you can give us one or two, or maybe . . .


Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Moby-Dick


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17 responses to “The Wrap-up – First Day

  1. Ruth

    May 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I haven’t read it, yet, but there are three of you – that counts for something. BTW, I get the feeling that reading MD is like one of those college algebra questions that takes up three pages. Am I close?
    P.S. I love your thumbnail picture Christina. It’s hysterical!!

    • Christina Joy

      May 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Yes, and the three of us are known to be somewhat diabolical, at least to our children sometimes.

      I think you’re right on the math analogy. I’m going to skip working the equation and just guess that the answer is three.

      P.S. Thank you. It’s humiliatingly authentic.

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    May 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I enjoyed reading Moby-Dick, took twenty pages of notes, and I did not catch any of this (except that Ahab was evil)! Seriously, this post made my jaw drop. All those 3’s, “diabolical trinity”, MD represents good — FLUKES!!! (There’s three exclamation points for you. That’s the best I can do for now.)

    You’ve got my attention. I can’t wait to find out more.

    • Christina Joy

      May 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      The honors go to Jeannette, she always brings the jaw-dropping realities to the table.

      Nice use of three lists of threes, yourself.

      I hope you will like what’s to come . . . (sorry, the best I can do right now is an elipsis)

  3. Christina Joy

    May 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    OOO! OOOO! OOOO! You know what other evidence we have for Ahab being the diabolical trinity? He baptizes. In the name of the devil!!!!! How did I not put that in earlier???? Why am I so over punctuating??!!

  4. Christina Joy

    May 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Oh, and one more less punctuated addition to this post. After watching Into the Deep last night I was reminded that it takes three days to process the blubber from a whale kill.

  5. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    May 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm


  6. Ruth Lopez (

    July 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I found another: Chapter 113 – Three punctures were made in the heathen flesh!

  7. Ruth Lopez (

    July 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Oh, I found another in the same chapter: The Three Fates – pole, iron, and rope! And, you know, chapter 99, which you mention above, is divisible by three.

    • Christine

      July 15, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Wow! Thanks for sharing more examples of 3s!

    • Christina Joy

      July 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      I love it! (Also three words.) So is this.

  8. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    July 15, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Thanks Ruth! Have you been keeping track of all the foreshadowing?

    • Ruth Lopez (

      July 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      No! And I’m almost done with the book. It really does help to have prompts like that, whether it is the “Three’s of Something” or “Foreshadowing,” b/c then I can pull more out while reading. This is why it really does help to have mentors or companions to read through the classics. Our Founding Fathers did it, and the Greeks did, too. That’s a classical education!

  9. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    July 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I agree. I love my rhetoric partners. You all are awesome!!! (that’s three exclamation points)

    • Christina Joy

      July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      We love you all, too. I’ve missed all this great conversation while I was on vacation.


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