Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
13 April, 2004

Una, including a comparison to Ahab/Ishmael ...

"human beings are morally complex, women as well as men, and I must live with that .... I preferred the story of Wilhelm Meister to that of Werther; while Werther disintegrated, Wilhelm learned from the wonder of life and grew" (p 387)

find myself oddly liking the story of Una ... I couldn't and still can't stand Moby Dick- It just didn't drive me to excitement or any thoughts near the realm of enjoyable ... Fritz

Una is so interesting. Her character is one that I can really identify with, and I like watching her growth through her different experience. She refuses to crack where everyone else does ... Meg

Naslund is acknowledging something that we all feel ... Nancy

Is gender relevant? ... reader? writer?

so, the idea behind ahab's wife kinda bothers me, i guess. just the unfounded stigma of the book being the 'female version of md' ...don't like that. i realize that md is a masculine book, but i don't think a male is going to get more out of it, or relate more to it than i do ... Orah

"One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at." ... when Ishmael addresses the reader, he needs not do so with any intermediary. he is simply a man capable of introducing himself and he does so accordingly. he acts. una, on the other hand, must define herself in a reflexive way that depends largely on the eyes of the observers-- both us, the readers, and the society she lives in ... Em

Other Moby Dick / Ahab's Wife Relations?

Ahab's Wife would not exist were it not for Melville's Moby (a tacit thought I am sure many of us had noodling around in our brains. I did, but had not noticed its worth yet), and that one created a niche for the other to enter, I got excited ... Ro

The thing is, what I think fascinated Naslund most about _Moby Dick_ is something few fanficced stories have and fewer fanfic authors notice; philosophy. _Ahab's Wife_ is studying the philosophy, rather than the characters or the world setting of _Moby Dick_, from a new angle ... what angle is it? ...Elizabeth D.

Gottlieb .... and Una?

a conflict: to acknowledge our vulnerability "takes the pressure off" of us and allows for safety, while to acknowledge our opportunity posits greater control over our own destiny and allows for adventure ... Cham

You cannot have smallness without bigness, and vice versa. I like to remember the immensity of what we are embarking on together, it doesn't give my smallness purpose -- rather, it reminds me of the purpose inherant in my smallness ... Diane

for me, to acknowledge my smallness in this large disorderly design first makes me feel vulnerable, then makes me realize that i do not have as much control as i thought i did, so i do feel safe...but from that safety also comes the belief that things can go only so wrong, thus allowing me to take chances, set sail and have adventures! ... Simran

I think that Una is the 'clingy' one. She clings to life with a tenacity that Ahab lacks because when tragedy occurs, it is Ahab who turns his back on everything that he once held dear and focuses all his energy on death and destruction. Una's circumstances were much, MUCH more catastrophic than those of Ahab, but she loves life enough to move on ... Perrin

yes, yes i would wage an honest battle with the deep because i have not learned that lesson of loving and losing yet. i have not yet lived enough and loved enough for that ... Em

Middle thoughts

we have been saying that Ahab's Wife isn't funny, and Moby Dick is. Well, I never thought Moby Dick was funny, and until recently I would agree that Ahab's Wife wasn't either. But I found some things that made me laugh ... Heather

Ahab's Wife is not a book that can stand on its own. For this reason it is unquestionable that Una is clingy. Her entire world relies to something else (ie the original text). She is clingy by association, without even overtly exhibiting any real signs of it ... I'm sure the author had good intention, but something about it feels like she took the easy way out and cheapened Moby-Dick in the process. The author has raped Moby-Dick, leaving it somewhat broken in my mind ... Diane

I feel sometimes as if the story is too linear, too plot driven, and not thoughtful enough. It doesn't stop to ask the deep questions that we muddle through in MD. I don't think that this, however, "rapes" the original Moby Dick. I do sometimes feel that when comparing the two texts, the philosophy and life questions asked in Ahab's Wife lay in the shadow of the emence problems tackled by MD. In fact, AW does not leave MD broken, perhaps it holds the text up as a far more intellectual piece of work ... I like the trowser una, not the cry-because-i-want-to-be-a-good-wife-for-my-mad-husband Una.Katherine

I just feel that I was finally given a piece in Ahab's Wife that would finally explain why all those men in Moby Dick allowed themselves to die when they clearly saw it comming. It was "as good a fate as any." ... Patty

i'll start by saying that i was disgusted by the book until page 231, chapter 46, ganglion. not really important why i couldn't take it ... the important thing is what happened on 231. and i don't even know. it just got good. really good. she started being able to write ... i don't know what happened ... she started knowing about life ... and and and her words were just sublime for a couple chapters ... Orah

I finally menaged to figure out why Una cannot make up her mind whom (Giles or Kit) she prefers. My answer is more than simple-because they are the complementary parts of one personality .... Daniela

It bothers me that Una is so composed. I understand, in some way, she is fighting madness and consumed by her guilt, but I feel these emotions come second to Una's determination to forget. I'm finding it hard to relate to this perfectly, composed Una. Giles flings himself off the boat (I think it was intentional anyway) and Kit goes mad, but Una... Una is determined to forgive herself and make sure no one finds out so that she might be given a second chance to lead a normal life. It's not that I want Una to kill herself...I don't know what I want. But I'm hoping with 300 more pages to go I find a different Una – an Una I can see myself in ... Aia

"Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last. Yet, looking up into the clouds---I conjure him there: his gray-white hair....... etc."

With these two sentences combined she is saying—Captain Ahab was not my only love, but, yet, I am seeing his beautiful image in the clouds. She is not afraid of giving him height according to her appreciation of his nature. To me this is a sign of her ascendance to a more evolved female, the kind that is so assured of herself that she can give praise to men. Moreover, this is not a fluffy woman because she is a woman who loves (many) and lets go when change beckons her to do so. She does not cling to men, not even to life. I think my appreciation of her in this instance is because of my age and my experiences of loving and letting go. It's not something that people do easily. It takes strength that I think is highly commendable. There are many people that lack it ... Mary

begins w/ a relational gesture, and will move slowly, slowly into...a sense of independence, of marriage-to-self, of taking self as center...? .... Anne

Let's see ...