The difficulty of Richardson's masterpiece lies almost exclusively in its length:
With a novel as richly ambiguous as Moby-Dick, we look at themes as guides, but it is important to be flexible while we do so.
A good deal is left to individual interpretation so that one reader might disagree with another without necessarily being "wrong" or "right" about what the novel is saying.
With that in mind, consider the following sections. Defiance Because of the dominance of Ahab's quest in the novel, the theme of defiance is of paramount importance.
Father Mapple prepares us for a consideration of defiance with his sermon about Jonah in Chapter 9. Jonah suffers from the sin of disobedience. When God asks him to submit to God's will, Jonah attempts to flee from god.
He thinks that he can find some country where God does not rule. What he learns is that he must set aside his own wishes, his own vanity, if he is to follow God's way.
Father Mapple puts it like this: After Starbuck suggests that it is "blasphemous" to seek revenge on some poor dumb brute, such as a whale, when it merely followed instinct and took off the captain's leg, Ahab responds that he would "strike the sun if it insulted me" Chapter Ahab explains that he is not seeking revenge against a mere whale.
The nature of that authority is debatable.
We might infer that it is the order of nature, which Ahab sees as evil because Ahab insists on being placed higher in nature than a mere man can be. Certainly Ahab is mad; even he knows that his monomaniacal obsession is not "normal.
Ahab strikes back against the inscrutable figure behind the mask because Ahab sees no justification for submitting to it. He rebels with anger because he wants to be more than he is.
Ahab defies whatever authority there is and stands against it with a soul that can be killed but not defeated. In that sense, he condemns himself to death; but it is a death that he prefers to submission. In his madness and egocentrism, tragically, he takes his ship and most of his crew with him.
Friendship In contrast to Ahab's self-centered defiance is the theme of friendship, or camaraderie, which is characterized primarily through Ishmael and Queequeg.
The two meet under awkward circumstances. As a result of a shortage of beds at the Spouter-Inn, as well as the mischievous nature of the proprietor, Queequeg and Ishmael find themselves in a frightening situation.
Ishmael has no idea that his bunkmate is a "heathen" and concludes that the aborigine who enters the room late is a cannibal.
Queequeg doesn't even know he is to share his bed with anyone and does threaten Ishmael's life. It's not an auspicious beginning for a friendship, but things soon get better because both men are open to the positive possibilities of diversity.
They are characters who can and do grow and change. Queequeg left his native island of Kokovoko to learn about the rest of the world.
Ishmael has similar motives for his ventures. Both understand that people from different cultures can learn from each other, and both value their differences as well as their similarities. An example is their respect for each other's religion.
Later, Ishmael bonds with Queequeg by sharing a pipe of tobacco and later making a burnt offering to Queequeg's little idol, Yojo.
Although it is not investigated in detail, this kind of friendship is also somewhat true of the crew of the Pequod, which is a microcosm of life from various cultures. Ishmael alludes to the camaraderie as he describes working whale blubber with the other men.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions aboard ship. His scene with the black cook, Fleece, may have been designed for humor; but it seems more like an illustration of the absence of brotherhood.
The gams with other ships do provide positive opportunities for camaraderie. Significantly, Ahab has almost no interest in friendship.Moby Dick, the whale, not the novel, is quite literally the biggest symbol in the story. The only problem with the symbol is that it's open to so many interpretations that it can be difficult to.
Full text of "Moby Dick: based on the novel by Herman Melville" See other formats. Apr 02, · Others immediately got the subtext, that Moby was acting like a dick.
A few others pointed out that Moby, the modern-day celebrity musician, is a descendent of Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick, and that’s where his nickname, and his real name Richard Melville Hall came from.
He published Moby Dick in Kenneth Grahame was a British author born in , eight years after Melville published Moby Dick, and he died in He published The Wind in the Willows in Symbols in literature are usually objects used to represent or suggest important concepts that inform and expand our appreciation of the work.
Moby-Dick offers some of the most widely known symbols in American literature. Being widely known, however, does not imply that the symbols are simple or.
The novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville was set between eighteen thirties and eighty forties, aboard the whaling ship the Pequod, in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
this novel is an epic adventure quest tale that later becomes a tragedy.