Moby Dick, or The Whale

Moby Dick, or The

Whale

I. Author Information

Herman Melville, was born in 1819, in
a very "good" neighborhood in New York. A. Many influences on Melville's
works were European literature, experiences in his travels, and tragedy
in his life. B. Melville was born into the time when inspiring works of

American literature began to emerge. Yet, European heritage in literature
still had a strong hold on American writers of the time. C. Other contributions
by Herman Melville were his narrative poems, and writings of other sea
journeys.

II. Setting

Moby Dick is set in a time when whaling
was a very well known trade, it was made popular because of the dyer need
for oil for lamps. A. The time of the journey was started on a cold December
day, where he enters with a carpet bag on his shoulder at the shipping
port of New Bedford, and finds a room at the Spouter Inn with a massive

South Sea Islander named Queequeg. " What a pity they didn't stop up the
chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there.

But it's too late to make any improvement's now. The universe is finished
the copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago."

B. The setting, over all, suggests a rustic, hard seamens life on the open
ocean, it being very hard on a man, but very fulfilling.

III. Character

Characters in this classic novel are very
unique, in physical, emotional, and mental aspects. A. Ahab is a one-legged
man, feared by most of the crew, he is the Captain of the Pequod, and he
has sworn death on Moby Dick, the great white whale, whom left Ahab with
only one leg. Emotionally and mentally Ahab is a scared man, from his last
encounter with Moby Dick, he seemed like a man very determined in his ways,
willing full, and moody. B. The characters of this work have many impacts
on the feelings in the book, Ahab is the strong force, while Ishmal, the
narrator, is the understanding compassionate man of the Pequod.

IV. Plot

The plot of Melville's work is very distinguished
in all perspectives of the novel. A. The exposition is set at the beginning
when Ishmal sets forth on the journey on the whaling ship, the Pequod,
with Captain Ahab. In Ishmal's talking of the whale, and Ahab's craving
to put death to the great fish, the narrative hook is created. As the sign
ups for the Pequod are occurring the action rises as the would-be crew
members hear the name of the captain, "Ahab". As the ship sets out on the
water to sacrifice the "great whale", Moby Dick, the climax is reached
when the altitude of the "chase" begins. The action falls as Ahab plunges
th last harpoon into Moby Dick, and the rope grabs Ahab by the throat and
both are pulled into the depths of the sea as the Pequod sinks. In the

Revolution Fedalah's prophecies are fulfilled, and it was not the whale
seeking Ahab, it was Ahab's evil seeking the whale. B. One of the many
conflicts in this classic was having Ahab as the Captain, this is re! solved
though through the crew learning to coupe with the strangeness, and moodiness
of the determined old man. Another conflict is encountered between Ahab
and the whale, which is resolved when the both parish, this is conflict
that most stands out in one's mind after reading Moby Dick.

V. Theme

Many themes are represented through the
setting, plot, and different situations created by the characters of Moby

Dick. A. A "life lesson" learned by reading Moby Dick is that life is like
the sea, in that in life men have fears they must overcome to gain a fuller
understanding of life, just as Ahab, and his crew, had to overcome there
fears to understand more of the presence of Moby Dick.

VI. Evaluation

A. Positives in this novel are prominent
in the philosophy of Melville, and it's aspects which can be inferred in
man's continual struggle with himself in this universe. This novel has
influenced my attitudes and beliefs on the destiny of
man and has shown me that there is more
than one view of every object. It showed me that I need to be open minded
and examine things from more than one viewpoint.