What I learned:
1. It is not a straight forward story about guys in a ship trying to get the white whale. There is a hiatus from this plot for hundreds of pages as the author eloquently/voluminously describes every facet of whales and the whaling industry.
2. Reading, In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick helped prepare me for reading Moby Dick and kept me engaged with the novel.
3. I learned that one of my favorite movie quotes is originally from Moby Dick. (a little embarrassed that I did not know this before).
"From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee." - Moby Dick (and of course, Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan)
4. Greatest Single Sentence --that's right this is ONE sentence. http://goamick.googlepages.com/alongsentence
5. Very much enjoyed the retelling of the book of Jonah from a mariner's view in the early part of the book when the character Ishmael goes to a church service on the Island of Nantucket.