Consider how its opening chapters focus so insistently on death as to make for a veritable thanatopsis: Ishmael, as if on a suicide mission, steps across the threshold from the "Extracts" supplied by a "late" sub-sub librarian to follow funeral processions; he then pauses before "coffin warehouses," runs a gauntlet through "blocks of blackness," lurches out of a black church he calls "The Trap," and comes to a stand before the Spouter
Inn, Peter Coffin, proprietor.
But Beatty on stage is another lamely written character: a fanatical agenda spouter
, if you will.
Starting as a spouter
of universal platitudes--off on a first-day-in-town tour of marble monuments, ending with the Lincoln Memorial--he finds that his patriotism must draw strength, in a pinch, from the same source as Lincoln's: an imagination of something called The American People.
Then there is bonnet-like Hooded Geyser, a gargling perpetual spouter
Among the enticing sights that await the second day are the bank, drugstore, ship chandlery, a nautical general store, the Ropewalk, where cordage is made, and more: a planetarium, Stone's Store with dry goods and hardware, and Schaefer's Spouter
Tavern, named for that in Moby Dick and restored as a historic site.
Dining facilities include Schaefer's Spouter
Tavern, a recreated 19th century tavern in the village that serves sandwiches, cookies and beverages; the Galley, an informal family restaurant for snacks or grill and deli foods; and the Seamen's Inne, a more formal riverside restaurant with a candlelit dining room as well as a pub (there is a children's menu).
Early in the book, Ishmael arrives at the Spouter
Inn and discovers in the entry
Upon entering the town of New Bedford, where he plans to embark on a whaling ship for the first time, Ishmael seeks refuge in the Spouter