Ishmael himself participates, which is generally admirable (tales of sacrifice, and take one for the . . . and there is no I in . . .) with some caveats, and yet Ishmael participates in a fixed and murderous delusion, which is generally deplorable (cultists with wild eyeballs, and terrorists and Deutschland, Deutschland über alles . . .) with some caveats, and this creates a certain tension, wouldn’t you say?
And this tension calls to a more basic tension–maybe the basic tension–in The American Way: require and fear the we-voice on the one hand, worship and avoid the I- voice on the other.
And the particular expression of this tension aboard the Pequod tightens and moves something in my body as we read, and opens and moves something in our bodies as I read.
“The whale! The white whale!”