“[Ahab] advanced towards the main-mast with the hammer uplifted in one hand, exhibiting the gold [doubloon] with the other, and with a high raised voice exclaiming: “Whosoever of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white-headed whale, with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke – look ye, whosoever of ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce” (176).

For those of you in 2H06 who have ventured as far as chapter 36 of Moby-Dick, titled “The Quarter-Deck,” (175), you’ll recall the dramatic scene of Ahab nailing a sixteen dollar piece Spanish doubloon to the Pequod’s main-mast and promising it to the first crewmember who spots Moby Dick. For those of you who have yet to reach this chapter, the scene explains itself: Ahab presents his crew with a contest and a prize (a prize, as far as my quick online research reveals, worth roughly $500.00 today).

I, too, would like to nail a figurative doubloon to the mast of this blog. A contest. There is a challenge and there is a prize (no, not $500.00), and they are as follows:

The Context

Within the last five years, a fragment of a sentence from Melville’s Moby-Dick, or the Whale (1851) was used as the title of an original song in the musical soundtrack of a celebrated (and polarizing) American film.

The Challenge

  1. Identify and name the song/six words from the novel.
  2. Identify and name the chapter of the novel in which the words appear.
  3. Identify and name the film in which the song appears and the year of its release.
  4. Identify and name the musician who scored the film.

If two identical answers tie for first place, that tie will be broken and determined by the amount of accurate elaboration provided by an entrant. Such details include the context within which those six words appear in the novel, the background of the film’s musical composer, a short analysis of the film’s connection to Moby-Dick, et cetera.

The first correct answer wins.

The Prize, or “The Doubloon”

The winner will receive a $15.00 gift certificate to Titles, the McMaster University Bookstore.

The Terms

This contest is open to students currently enrolled in McMaster University’s English 2H06 American Literature class in the year 2011. This contest becomes void at midnight on December 31st, 2011. I, Joe Frank, Senior Tutor of 2H06, reserve the right to redact this contest, its terms, and its duration at any time. There will only be one winner.

Email answers to with the subject “2H06 Blog Contest” and include your entire answer in the body of the email, no attachments will be opened. The winner will be notified by email, non-winners will not be contacted, and the answer will be revealed in class as soon as possible.

There it is. Good luck.

–          Joe Frank

The image accompanying this post was created by the American artists Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) for the Lakeside Press illustrated edition of Herman Melville’sMoby-Dick, or the Whale.


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