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The Whale

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale - Herman Melville, Andrew Delbanco, Tom Quirk

I first read Moby Dick as a child with an Illustrated Classics Edition, that series of small, pocketsize versions with pencil sketches on every other page. What made me read the book again in its unabridged form arose from watching this tv series on Animal Planet, "Whale Wars", which chronicles the efforts of global NGO Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to stop Japanese whaling disguised as "research" off the waters of Antarctica.

I admit the unabridged version is quite a hard-read. There were many instances of archaic language and whaling terminologies used and Melville had this penchant for warbling on and on about details which do not have relevance to the story.

But the jewels of the book are the spirit of adventure and the quest for destiny. Religious allusions abound with Biblical names such as Bildad, Peleg, Ahab, Ishmael. Ahab's maniacal fury in his hunt for the White Whale was sometimes amusing and the Whale almost had the same conviction in not only eluding his pursuer but actually taunting him to apoplexy.

I've always been an animal lover and this book reinforced my conviction that it is wrong to equate bad human behavior with animals. Some Filipinos have this saying when describing atrocious human deeds, "masahol pa sa hayop" ("baser than animals"). That is CRAP. Unlike some humans, animals don't kill just for the sheer pleasure of it. But humans can -and sometimes did- kill thousands and millions of their own brethren. Fellow human beings, think about that the next time you dare to compare our species with others. We are supposed to be the superior beings; it's about time we live up to that claim.