Summary Of Reflection In 'Melville'sPequod'

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After apprehension is established in the narrative, Ahab unifies the group by asking a series of emotionally driven questions in a call and response style. He prompts the crew with “What do ye do when ye see a whale, men?” to which they respond “Sing out for him!” with an “…impulsive rejoinder from a score of clubbed voices” (Melville, 137). The use of rhetoric effectively engages and includes the crew to participate and buy into his speech and beckons them to succumb to a similar tone evoked by Ahab. The verb choice ‘score’ creates a theatrical environment, as if the voices are scripted and orchestral. Describing the voices of the crew with the adjective ‘clubbed’ evokes a masculine, heavy undertone, and this response arises perhaps as a result of Ahab ending his initial question on the word ‘men.’ Summoning the concept of manhood signifies the qualities Ahab wants to arouse within the crew and subtly prompts them to conform to these aspects of masculine identity. Ahab understands that his crew is malleable and can become easily influenced, and his delicate word choice plays a pivotal role in framing the response of the crew in a manner that is conducive to his ploy. Melville measures Ahab’s insanity through balancing his character with the rest of the crew on the Pequod, and Ishmael’s narrative particularly demonstrates the alluring ability of his performance to capture even the young educated sailors on the ship. Following Ahab’s “wild approval” of the crew’s response

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