Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Moby Dick


I just finished reading Moby Dick as part of Jacqui Robbin's Remedial English Lit Summer Project, and man, if that book was published today, I'm sure most every editor would have cut it down to at least a quarter of it's size! Chapters upon chapters upon chapters of whale anatomy and characteristics - oy!

One of my favorite characters was the little ship-keeper boy, Pip, so I did the character sketch of him above. Here's a section of a scene from Moby Dick about Pip:

"Ha, Pip? come to help; eh, Pip?”
“Pip? whom call ye Pip? Pip jumped from the whaleboat. Pip’s missing. Let’s see now if ye haven’t fished him up here, fisherman. It drags hard; I guess he’s holding on. Jerk him, Tahiti! Jerk him off we haul in no cowards here. Ho! there’s his arm just breaking water. A hatchet! a hatchet! cut it off—we haul in no cowards here. Captain Ahab! sir, sir! here’s Pip, trying to get on board again.”
“Peace, thou crazy loon,” cried the Manxman, seizing him by the arm. “Away from the quarter-deck!”
“The greater idiot ever scolds the lesser,” muttered Ahab, advancing. “Hands off from that holiness! Where sayest thou Pip was, boy?
“Astern there, sir, astern! Lo! lo!”
“And who art thou, boy? I see not my reflection in the vacant pupils of thy eyes. Oh God! that man should be a thing for immortal souls to sieve through! Who art thou, boy?”
“Bell-boy, sir; ship’s-crier; ding, dong, ding! Pip! Pip! Pip! One hundred pounds of clay reward for Pip; five feet high—looks cowardly— quickest known by that! Ding, dong, ding! Who’s seen Pip the coward?”

6 comments:

Jacqui said...

I love it. I liked Pip, too. I felt so bad for him when he went overboard!

You said: "man, if that book was published today, I'm sure most every editor would have cut it down to at least a quarter of it's size! Chapters upon chapters upon chapters of whale anatomy and characteristics - oy!"

Word.

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Great character drawing Kristi! I love how you used the gray/brown tones... it gives the picture an old feel

Michelle Henninger said...

I am so impressed that you finished reading Moby Dick. I must admit, that Moby Dick IS my Moby Dick. I can not get through that book!! The 17 pages on the description of the color white was the final straw, and I put the book down. It still bothers me that I couldn't get through it though, all these years later. Ah well. Anyway, your illo of pip is wonderful!

Kristi Valiant said...

Thanks Jacqui, Anthony, and Michelle!

Michelle - the only way I was able to get through it is because I listened to it on CD as I was creating illustrations for a series of leveled readers.
It. was. long. ridiculously. long.
But the narrator was really good and that definitely helped. I think if I'd been holding the actual book, my wrists would've given up long before I'd finish.

sdzsmith said...

Hey -

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the encouragement! I appreciate it.

I read Swiss Family Robinson to my kids this past year (published about 1812). That's another one that probably wouldn't get published by today's standards. My kids couldn't understand why they were spending sooooooooo much time detailing inventions, construction techniques, and problem-solving skills. It was a challenge to put it into perspective - those things probably would have fascinated a world knee-deep in exploring new, remote lands.

But, it's worth checking out the old classics once in a while. Great studies in character!

By the way, LOVE your little water-wing swimmer!

Kristi Valiant said...

I think I'll add Swiss Family Robinson to my list of classics to read. Not because it spends another ridiculous amount of time on unnecessary details, but because it's kid's classic that I haven't read.