After the high drama of “The Candles,” we are given a mercifully brief chapter, “The Deck Towards the End of the First Night Watch,” as if the novel itself were exhausted by what has just occurred. Reinforcing the idea that “The Candles” parallels “The Quarter-Deck,” this chapter and the two that follow it are graced with stage directions, putting us once again temporarily in dramatic rather than novelistic mode.

There’s a gale blowing. Starbuck wants to strike the main-top-sail yard. Ahab wishes he had sky-sails to send up. He orders all the sails to be lashed to help keep them in place.

At this point, I doubt that any reader is surprised by these contrasting approaches.

“The Deck Towards the End of the First Night Watch” is read by Novar Cane.  The accompanying image is Horizon Line by Sarah Chapman, who is Director of Peninsula Arts in the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University.



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[Cross-posted with Patell and Waterman’s History of New York]