Can you tell what this chapter is about? And so, Melville is off on his beautiful descriptions again. I’m not sure if I’m in this frame of mind because I’ve set to communicate my thoughts on each chapter of this book, so I’m bound to read it anyway – or if I do genuinely enjoy his descriptions of the people and places. The way he describes New Bedford in this little chapter is makes me want to visit. I’m sure a lot of it is the same, but I’m also sure it’s a tourist destination for people who want to see quaint New England towns (this is considered New England, yes?).
Again, I’m reminded of fantasy authors who have to build a world before bringing the reader into the story. I believe that many contemporary authors could take a few notes from Melville. He only spends a page or so on each new aspect of the world. The only problem is that there are so many characters and the story takes place across the whole world, that this technique produces a large book.
I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this line of thought. Basically, I wish fantasy authors would world-build the way Melville does. But I’m sure there are many differences of opinion out there. If you’ve read Moby Dick, let me know what you think.
Lascars – plural for Lascar, a sailor from India or South-East Asia. I think it’s an outdated term
Tongatobooarrs, Erromanggoans, Pannangians, Brighggians – the closest I could come for definitions of these was this thread from 2001, where posters posit different ideas for which peoples these names refer to. But I’m thinking that possibly they were made up nationalities, like Queequeg’s fictional place of birth, Rokovoko.
Bombazine cloak – a twilled or corded fabric, usually made with a silk warp or weft.
Scoria – ‘basaltic lava ejected as fragments from a volcano, typically with a frothy texture’ from Google Dictionary.