This past weekend, when the HBO channels were free, I watched the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, about the whaling ship the “Essex” from Nantucket. The story of what happened to the whaling ship the “Essex”, inspired Herman Melville to write the novel Moby Dick.
I recommend reading the novel Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville, and also watching the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, about what happened to the whaling ship “Essex”. They both tell the same story, but in slightly different ways.
The final voyage of the whaling ship Essex took place in 1820. The town of Nantucket where the Essex sailed from, was one of the largest docking ports for whaling ships in North America. North America was experiencing a “Whaling Boom”, which was an Oil Boom. The whole point of whaling, was to boil the whale blubber to reduce it down to whale oil. Whale oil was the biggest source of oil in the world at that time.
The book and the movie portray the ship owners in Nantucket as greedy capitalists, in the middle of an Oil Boom. In the movie, it shows that the wealthy local people, would insist and make sure that their sons were captains of the whaling ships, whether they were qualified or not. (This scenario is similar to the Oil Boom in Dickinson.)
The First Mate, had to be highly competent, to make up for the shortcomings of the ship captain who was in his position due to his family. The harpooner, also had to be highly competent, because they wouldn’t get any oil without a good harpooner. The First Mate, and the harpooner, stood to make a lot of money if they produced a great many barrels of oil. (The First Mate and the harpooner are kind of like a drill rig boss or a tool pusher in this North Dakota Oil Boom.)
All the men on the whaling vessel would be away from home for one to three years. And there would be no good food, and no women out at sea. (Just like going to work in Williston, Watford City, or Dickinson.)
The men who manned the whaling ships, would experience great danger on the job, and great physical hardship. The men who manned the whaling ships, did it because they had no viable economic opportunity where they had come from. The men had some hope and expectation that they would strike it rich. (This is exactly the same as what happened in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson during this Oil Boom.)
Scenes in the book, and in the movie, where a whale gets harpooned, and the whale drags the men in the whale boats, sometimes smashing the whale boats, this is the same as riding in crew trucks on Highway 85 and Highway 22 during the Oil Boom in North Dakota, it was the same thing and equally as dangerous.
In the book Moby Dick, and in the movie “In The Heart Of The Sea”, there is a great white whale that attacks the ship Essex, and sinks it. Later, when the men are stranded in their smaller whale boats, the great white whale follows the men and attacks them again.
I like to compare this great white whale to the Catholic Church in Dickinson, the great evil beast.
Then, the men end up cannibalizing each other. This same thing is going to happen in Dickinson when all the businesses close, and there is no money in Dickinson, the people here will begin cannibalizing each other.