Essay about The Feminine Sea in Moby Dick

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The Feminine Sea in Moby Dick Melville's novel, Moby Dick, has only men. Melville's men's club sails a sea whose gender changes often and whose personality is resolutely enigmatic. The feminine in Melville¹s novel hides her face in a veil of stars and behind a cloud of words. Literally, Moby Dick is a men's club, with only a glimpse of a woman in the background, or reflected in the stories of the sailors. They seem to have no sexuality, nor any personality. The two full blooded, dialogue speaking characters in the novel are both servants. Mrs. Hussey ladles out ³Clam or Cod³ to Queequeg and Ishmael, bans harpoons from her house, and busies herself like some cosmic washerwoman. In the novel, she is a laughably comic figure…show more content…
Later in the novel, when Queequeg comes off the whale, the dough-boy gives him ginger-jub, as per Aunt Charity's orders. Stubb thunders and sends for more manly grog, then "Aunt Charity¹s gift...was freely given to the waves."(Monkey-Rope p. 419) So, even though we are told that she has been indefatigable in her efforts, the only gifts enumerated are trivial and silly, befitting someone who has no idea of the seriousness of the work involved. Both Charity and Mrs. Hussey are distanced from the men and men's work of the novel; they are the servants of the club, ignorant and silly. The only other women in the men¹s club exist in memory. Ishmael speaks of his "best and most-conscientious" step-mother, sending him to bed during the daylight. Like Jane Eyre, locked up only in his room, his visited by a phantom and the vision haunts him. This scary vision is repeated, but happily, Ishmael wakes to have Queequeg¹s arm around him (The Counterpane). Both Starbuck and Ahab are married and have children, though their wives are scarcely mentioned. The Pequod rarely stops for a gam and never passes letters, so we know that Starbuck and Ahab never write home. Just before they sight the white whale, both Starbuck and Ahab stare at the sunrise, and think back to their families on Nantucket. Ahab cries in regret for the treatment of his wife, saying that in marrying her, he "widowed" her. Starbuck entreats him to return;

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