Moby Dick And Slavery As Its Parallel

1526 WordsApr 1, 20167 Pages
Moby Dick and Slavery as its Parallel While the topic of slavery is never discussed explicitly in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, racial disparities and Melville’s attitude towards them are portrayed both subliminally and prominently throughout the novel. By creating a parallel to the slave industry with the whaling industry, Melville is able to indirectly criticize the injustice of slavery. Moby Dick was published at a time where the country was on the brink of the Civil War and whaling and the slave trade were the most profitable industries. The narrator of the novel; Ishmael, openly mocked white and Christian supremacy in America. It can be understood by a modern reader that the novel entails a metaphor comparing slavery to the whaling industry and gives insight to Melville’s standpoint on racial inequalities. Throughout the entirety of the novel, the inhumane tactics of whaling is used as an extended metaphor of slavery and the pursuit, capture, and killing of runaway slaves to help readers understand the brutal and unethical nature of slavery. Throughout the 19th century, the whaling industry was one of the largest sources of economic prosperity in the United States. Spermaceti oil was harvested from Sperm Whales used as an energy source for light and many more essential parts of people’s lives (“What Products…”). Whaling was an extremely dangerous and brutal practice that involved the inhumane capture and torture of essentially harmless creatures. “...the harpooner
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