A whale of a time: students take part in Moby Dick read

Students and faculty read the entirety of “Moby Dick” aloud over the course of approximately 21.5 hours in Seeley Mudd Library, starting at 10 a.m. April 21 and ending the following morning.

The readings were broadcasted on KHWS so that students who were not able to attend the event in person could listen in.

“This novel gets more intriguing every year, Moby himself gets cooler every year and I hope we all are able to appreciate the way this novel explores what is important to us now as we seek truth both scientific and humane in the pursuit of acceptance for all, justice for all, beauty for all,” English teacher and event coordinator Malina Mamigonian said in an email.

Along with the event in the library, students sold t-shirts, designed by Vivian Lu ’18 and Chronicle Assistant Features Editor Nicole Kim ’18, on the quad April 19-21. A portion of the proceeds from the shirts sold will go to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

“This has been quite a series of years with development to climate change, and the needs of the environment have become more obvious to us,” Mamigonian said. “I think that Moby Dick not only galvanizes those themes but also the themes of intersectionality and diversity that we are also addressing now culturally. It is probably one of the most representative American novels that I can think of.”

After signing up on a Google Doc, volunteers mostly made up of students from English teacher Charles Berezin’s and Mamigonian’s English III classes, Mamigonian said, read their choice of chapters aloud to listeners on a ship podium that was accompanied with nautical-themed decorations put up by student volunteers.

Later in the night, the fluorescent lights in the library were turned off, so students could read from the light of the lamp to create an ambient environment, while other students could sleep throughout the night.

From 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., the library was locked to ensure the safety of students, and during that time students could only leave the reading if an adult picked them up.

In addition, participants of the event were provided with dinner and a light breakfast. For dinner, Whole Foods catered multiple types of chowder for the reading.

Doughnuts, cookies and Starbucks coffee were also provided to attendees of the read-a-thon.

“It’s an event like no other at Harvard-Westlake, where people who enjoy reading can read for fun,” Marie Eric ’18 said.

 

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