From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ Moby Dick Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
Moby Dick (1851) | Written by: Herman Melville| Published by: Bantam Classics
Thug Notes Summary and Analysis
Word up homies! Welcome back to Thug Notes. This week we settin sail with Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
This big ass book starts when some playa callin himself Ishmael decide he wanna get himself a lil’ taste of life as a whaler.But before mah boy finds a crew to join up, he rolls over to the Spouter inn where he hooks up wit some tatted-up harpooner named Queequeg. Not long after, they get all tight and start kickin it Bert and Ernie style. So Ishmael and Queequeg fly they colors and crew up on a hoopty-ass boat called the Pequod. After a while the ships top-dog Ahab struts up to the deck with his janky ivory leg and startin layin down some real talk. He say the Pequod only got one mission: to find Moby Dick- the white whale that took his leg- and straight OJ that bitch. After about 500 pages of Ishmael goin off bout whaling bullsh**, the Pequod cruises up to a ship called the Rachel, where Ahab starts jabbering with the captain. He axe Ahab if he wanna do em a solid and help search for a lost boat with his son on it. But Ahab shakes dat load off cuz he only got one thing on his mind: dat Mo-Deezy.
Finally they find Moby lurkin in the water and chase his pasty ass for three days. On the third day, Moby’s fat ass RAMS the Pequod, which start sinkin. Now Ahab ain’t goin out like no bitch, so he keeps it clutch and goes toe-to-toe with moby D. He whips out his chrome and shanks dat whale, but Moby ain’t playin no mo’ and drags his ass to the deep. Woo! He dead.In the end, the whole crew go belly-up cept my boy Ishmael, who gets saved by the righteous cats of the Rachel.Open up yo eyes and peep this character foil, son. unlike Ahab’s crochety ass, Ishmael know how to deal wit all the bunk-ass sh** the world droppin on him. Check it-: “Who ain’t a slave?… however they may thump and punch me about… everybody else is one way or other served much the same way.” -Ishmael (Chapter 1, p.30)“Talk not to me of blashpehmy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. -Ahab (ch. 36, p.203) See, my boy Ishmael ain’t trippin bout the fact that the world’s a twisted place that gonna burn a brotha. In fact, he totally cool with the fact they ain’t nothing you can do but sit back and accept it. Whereas Ahab don’t take sh** from nobody, even God himself. In the game of life, Ahab don’t wanna just play the hand he was dealt. Naw blood. He wanna spit in the face of the dealer, Cuz ain’t nobody gonna impose rules on Ahab without a fight. So be it the Sun, God, or eternity itself, Ahab gonna step up and buck it- even if it kills him.
So what’s Ahab’s beef with da big G really all about? To Ahab, God runs every part of this janky-ass world like a tyrant that ain’t got no accountability. What’s worse, they always gonna be some simple-ass fools duped in to thinking that all them injustices ain’t no thang. Only Ahab sees that God doin em straight dirty. And even God aint gettin away with punkin Captain A.
But since Ahab ain’t got his glock 9 handy, he gotta strap up with a special harpoon to merc this whale. Ahab dunks the harpoon in the blood of three pagans, and even BAPTIZES his new piece sayin “I do not baptize you in the name of the father, but in the name of the devil.
To Ahab, Big Moby sometimes represtin God. But other times, that blubbery mess reppin all the evil in the world. And since evil existin everywhere up in this hood, some sailors swear they’ve peeped Moby in multiple places at once. And other times, Moby Dick is a symbol for an empty, Godless universe.
Sparky reads quote: To Ishmael, the whale’s indefinite whiteness, “shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation… [it’s] a color-less, all-color of atheism from which we shrink.” (Chapter 42, p 238)
Since whiteness is both the lack of color AND the combo of all colors, that whale is a swimming symbol of the raw truth that no matter how you spit it, the sum total of all the things in the universe is a big fat nothing.
So that whale servin as a nasty reminder that if you gonna live a life seeking meaning, you best prep yourself for a whole lot of pain and misery, B. And if you’ve got the balls to face the universe’s emptiness, you’ll see that we all like Ishmael- just a bunch orphans floating aimlessly in a sea that keeps flowing like it don’t even give a shit.
But keep floating, homies. Cuz somewhere out there, we all got our own Rachel that’s there to save us. See you next week, B.