Thank you Google, for the Google Doodle this morning.
I saw the Google Doodle this morning about Moby Dick and would love to write something erudite about it but you know, I never read it. Nope, not even when it was assigned in high school. That is not to say I didn’t learn a lot about writing from Melville. As soon as I realized Moby Dick was about hunting and killing a whale I made the decision not to go through the same anguish I suffered with The Red Pony, Old Yeller or Bambi. I invested in the Cliff Notes and checked a couple of books full of Melville & Moby Dick literary criticism out of the library and got to work. I skimmed for quotations, word-play and literary devices without ever approaching immersion in the emotional impact of the work. The paper received a good grade as I recall but what I always remembered was how much I enjoyed writing it. It was the first time I understood the difference between a kid’s book report and a research paper. I realized that my “job” was to understand what other’s had said about a book and where they got their views and then add to the conversation in a way that showed my comprehension of the literary work itself and its place in literature. I had quite frankly been unable to learn that by writing about books I loved because in reading them I became so beguiled by the words and emotions that the literary devices and plot structures were lost on me.
Do you remember when you “got” it?
Did you really read Moby Dick?