Learning to Love

Herman Melville's Moby Dick doesn't have the greatest reputation, and that's a fact. It seems to have stumbled into the canon of classic literature more by accident than democratic vote, or at least that would appear to be the case from most highschoolers' reaction to it. Thankfully, broad swaths of public opinion do not a statement of truth make, or Moby Dick (and probably most of Melville's other works) would be sunk. Frankly, were it not for a brief, but memorable encounter with this particular story, I would probably never have given it another thought myself. Why read something so universally shunned?

Such were my thoughts, until a quiet evening during IE break, which I spent with my roommate and her family. Her father is the sort of person I would like to call a kindred spirit, although I'm not sure how true that holds. We certainly had a lot to talk about, from G. K. Chesterton to monasteries. And at one point, we stumbled on the topic of Melville. As it so happens, Moby Dick is one of Pastor Brown's favorite pieces of fiction, so he had a lot to say about it, but even that might not have been enough to convince me of its worth if it weren't for the fact that he actually hunted down his copy and began to read from it.

Sometimes to fall in love, we have to see the object of our love through another person's eyes. I confess, I still haven't read it three years later, but the impression remains, along with a determined mental "eventually." Because the way he read those opening first pages was as if, if it were the only story in the entire world, that might not be such a bad thing, and that's about the best introduction you can possibly want, if you ask me.

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