Cloister Walk & Moby Dick 2
The fact the author, Kathleen Norris, relocated from New York City to South Dakota, a small town in the country side where she serves as an oblate in the Benedictine monastery is what irked my curiosity. The detailed account that she gives about the monastic life that she lives during her stay in the south satisfied this curiosity; I was almost tempted to think that I have learned more about Kathleen’s live than it was necessary. The most interesting thing that caught my attention were the descriptions of some features of the frugal liturgy, specifically when she illustrates how reading of scriptures played a key role in her life. On the other hand, the things that have grabbed my attention in Moby Dick include the way of life of the whales as well as their relationship with the other characters. Melville creates a scenario where there is a constant chase of Moby-Dick who amputated Ahab.
In “Cloister Walk” the author views the world from her profession as a poet; maintaining that there are no differences between a monk and a poet, a prophet and a poet since they disclose the mission of the one who identifies the power hidden in the simplest things. In other words, while prophets help us to see things the way they should be, poets communicate what people have desired to express but they can not put this into words. What I discovered throughout the reading is that the whole book comprises of a prayer which she defines as “being ourselves before God” (Norris, 1997, p. 14). Kathleen surrenders herself to learn scriptures in the bible and later spread the faith to the world. This is the key thing that she learns while in the Benedictine and she believes that a prayer is made for, and if possible with, the people and the word reaches them and touch them in a way that only God and not man can imagine.
I have also been amazed at how she makes efforts and allocates some time to make some connection of the things she learns from the scriptures and the things she has always perceived. She does this so as to fulfill Gregory’s pursuit that our key task as human is to find out the divine images that God wants to reveal to us; temptations, faults as well as strengths so that we can know ourselves better. This is only for the purpose that we become tools of heavenly grace for God’s people and finally go back to God (Norris, 1997).Another thing that has drawn my attention into her life is how she struggles to purify her life and harmonize it with the knowledge she has acquired from her passionate engagement in scripture and liturgy. The most fascinating thing is her encounter with Jeremiah, the prophet who lightens her morning every time she listens to his message.
One of the messages from Jeremiah that gave me focus as I read is how he would call out “Stop wearing out your shoes” (Norris, 1997, p. 146). For people like me who are used to roaming from one interruption to another, I felt I though am reminded to settle down and become acquitted with a tradition. This is because; I came to realize that freedom is found in response to the need to inner genuineness and not in making our choices open.As I read the text, no aspect of Kathleen’s life escaped my scrutiny, though different readers may see the experiences of her life differently so as to let them correspond with the needs, interests and experiences of their own.
As a saw the scriptures through the eyes of the author, I became illuminated and more cognizant of the opportunities for growth, knowledge and doing the will of God in any given environment. As she desired to be the “necessary other”, I got challenged and felt that if all people reading the book become as dedicated to the scriptures as she is, then there would be no fights in the world (Norris, 1997, p. 6). What I most appreciate about this work is her consistent recognition that there is nothing too earthbound to be consecrated. All along, she celebrates the presence and love of God for the many things she has learnt from the local church.
Moby-Dick on the other hand is another well organized book that gives the story of a captain who organizes several chases so as to seek revenge to the whale who amputated his limb. As I begun reading, I was imagining how one would think of such a kind. How could the author just think of writing a poem about whales? What was in him mind? As I concentrated further, one of the things that caught my attention as I read this poem is the writing style that the author uses. The chapters are short; a style that has given the work a conservative tone thus making it easy to understand (Fields & Melville, 2010). Suspense also caught my mind as I waited to see if Ahab would accomplish his mission.
On the third day, I saw his determination as he announced “…Let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee..
.!” (Melville, 2008, p. 477). However it was not until the last paragraph that I discovered that the mission was accomplished. Thus the fact that Moby-Dick is not captured is something that kept me reading the text until the last sentence. Another thing that interested me is how the author is devoted in describing the whales; there are those that are good and those that are bad, their customs and how one can pursue them (Melville, 2008).
While both the two books in one way or the other discuss divinity, the situations and events used are discussed in different manner. As I went through these texts, my mind become enlightened at the experiences the narrators, who are also the protagonists encounter. While in “The Cloister Walk” the protagonist seeks to learn holy ways of living through scripture, the one in “Moby-Dick” struggles to pursue revenge to Moby-Dick, the hard to catch a whale that cut off his limb. Therefore both are in constant move to get that which they desire.