I. Biographical Insights A.
The culture this great author was a part of was thetime in American history where inspiring works of literature began to emerge. Itwas also a time when American writers had not completely separated its literaryheritage from Europe, partly because there were successful literary genius’flourishing there. B. Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819, he was the sonof Allan and Maria Melville. During Herman’s childhood he lived in the”good” neighborhoods of New York City.Order now
In 1832 Herman suffered tragedywhen his father died after trying to cope with the stress of debts andmisfortunes. After a short time in a business house in New York City, Hermandetermined he needed to go to sea. He spent years traveling on a variety ofships, including whaling ships. C1. Melville’s perspective on life is that Godcreated the universe with an infinite number of meanings and man is alwaystrying to determine one specific meaning.
D2. The “lessons” thatMelville is likely to weave into his writing are 1. An exposition on whales andthe whaling industry. 2.
A commentary on the universe and human destiny. 3. Thoughts about God and Nature. III.
Characters B. The protagonist in this bookis Ishmael, a Christian, schoolteacher and part-time sailor. Ishmael’s role inthe hunt for “Moby Dick” is to interpret what is happening. Hediscusses his reasons for going to sea and interprets and looks forunderstanding a number of reasons for any specific action where other charactersonly understand one reason.
C. It is hard to say what changes take place inIshmael’s personality, since he is the narrator he doesn’t talk about himself,he only talks about what he sees. D1. Ishmael befriends Queequeg who is acannibal.
Even though Queequeg is very ugly Ishmael sees that Queequeg has anhonest heart, great honor, and a lot of courage. This friendship had a positiveinfluence on Ishmael’s behavior because it taught him not to judge on outwardappearances. E2. Another relationship that was very short was the relationshipbetween Ishmael and Captain Ahab. For the first few days aboard the PequodIshmael always saw Ahab in the shadows. When Ishmael finally saw Ahab he hadshivers run through his body.
Ishmael felt Ahab’s attitude of determination,dedication and hatred towards “Moby Dick” in Ahab’s appearance. Thisrelationship was a negative relationship because Ishmael now feared Ahab and didnot want to become friends with such an evil person. F. The conflict thatIshmael experienced was that he saw how Ahab was such an evil man and thatIshmael was a good natured man and did not want to be corrupted by Ahab.
Toresolve this conflict Ishmael stayed away from Ahab. Representative Passage onImagery and Figurative Language “Yonder, by the ever-brimming goblet’s rim,the warm waves blush like wine. The gold brow plumbs the blue. The diversun?long dived from noon,?goes down; my soul mounts up! she wearies with herendless hill. Is, then, the crown too heavy that I wear? this Iron Crown ofLombardy.
Yet is it bright with many a gem; I, the wearer, see not its farflashings; but darkly fell that I wear that, that dazzlingly confounds. ?Tisiron?that I know?not gold. ?Tis split, too?that I feel; the jagged edgegalls me so, my brain seems to beat against the solid metal. ” Chapter LV A. The details being used to make us feel like we are watching a sunset is that itsays “the warm waves blush like wine. The gold brow plumbs the blue.
Thediver sun?long dived from noon,?goes down; my soul mounts up!” B. Thesimiles the author uses are the comparison of the colored waves of the sunset towine. I believe that when the author is talking about the “Iron Crown ofLombardy” he is talking about the sun. When it says “Is, then, thecrown too heavy that I wear?” he is talking about the sunrise as the sunfirst starts ascending. I think that noon is where it is says “Yet is itbright with many a gem; I, the wearer, see not its far flashings;”. I alsothink that “?Tis iron?that I know?not gold.
?Tis split, too?thatI feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain seems to beat against the solidmetal. ” means he wants to take off the crown signifying sunset. IV. Symbolism / Allusions D. The objects that are representative of larger ideas areMoby Dick who is a symbol of all of the things in the universe. The color of thewhale being white could mean so many different and conflicting things that itcan’t be narrowed down to one meaning.
The coffin that was turned into a buoythat saved Ishmael’s life could suggest that the meaning of any object lies inthe beholder of the object not the object itself. The place that is arepresentative of a larger idea is the sea. The sea represents a mans life, itsymbolizes the fears that a man must overcome in life in order to gain a fullerunderstanding of life. B. The sea is a constant presence throughout the novel.
As the sea is constantly in the background of the scene. C. References toprevious literature are outlines on the Sperm Whale, but the literature he isreferring to do not have name of the works only the names of the authors. “I know of only four published outlines of the great Sperm Whale: Colnett,Huggins, Frederick Cuvier’s, and Beales. ” E.
Representative Passage on Toneand Author’s Philosophy “What a pity they didn’t stop up the chinks and thecrannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there. But it’s too lateto make any improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is on, andthe chips were carted off a million years ago. ” Chapter II A. The metaphorsMelville is using indicates the condition of man and about man’s uncertainty inthe universe we live in. His tone is that of questioning man choosing his owndestiny through his own actions.
Melville’s attitude is that of Man’s absoluteinsignificance in the universe. There is nothing Man can do to improve thepresent state of the universe once he has acted on his decision. F. Aspects ofhis philosophy which can be inferred is Man’s continual struggle with himself inthis universe. The vastness of the universe and man’s place in it is difficultfor the average man to comprehend. At best he can just figure out one meaning,but there could be more.
I. Evaluation F. This novel has influenced my attitudesand beliefs on the destiny of man and has shown me that there is more than oneview of every object. It showed me that I need to be open minded and examinethings from more than one point of view before I judge the object. G. In thisnovel one of the author’s goals was of indicating the condition of man and aboutman’s uncertainty in the universe we live in.
Melville also shows the readerabout Man’s absolute insignificance in the universe. H. I believe the author wasvery successful in achieving these goals. Herman did a great job of representingobjects with things of deeper meaning. Throughout the book you are shown Man’sinsignificance in the universe by the relationship of the crew to the ocean.
Youare also shown of how a Man’s decision once executed can’t be changed, anexample of that is when Captain Ahab throws the spear into Moby Dick. The spearsrope got wrapped around Ahab’s neck and when the whale dove Ahab went with it. There was nothing Ahab could do to escape. I.
The topics in this novel are verytrue but an adventure loving reader will read this book and focus on what wenton rather than what the novel was trying to say. This book could be significantto a reader who wants to know about Man’s relation to the universe. Thedifference this novel will have on society is that it will help a person findtheir relation to the universe. BibliographyMelville, Herman. “Moby Dick”, Spencer Press, Inc.
1936 WebmasterUnknown. “Herman Melville”, Internet. 10/01/96 Available WWW: http://www. csustan.
edu/english/reuben/pal/melville. htmlWebmaster Unknown. “Moby Dick”, Internet. 10/01/96 Available WWW:http://www.compclass.com/~vincent/motor.city/moby*censored*.html