Throughout his novel, Moby Dick, Herman Melville will often devote entire chapters to the thoughts and actions of specific characters. Two specific examples of this type of chapter are Chapter 36, The Quarter-Deck, and Chapter 42, The Whiteness of the Whale. The first of these chapters depicts Ahab addressing his crew for the first time in order to convince them to hunt down Moby Dick. The second offers insight to the fear that is brought upon by the mere mention of Moby Dick The significance and
Herman Melville published the novel Moby Dick in 1851. In Moby Dick, Melville uses the whale, other sea creatures, and elements of nature to show the transcendental view of God. Melville uses the principles of color to portray the power of God, and the symbolistic meaning of color in nature. Melville depicts sea creatures as both good and bad, to juxtapose characters in the novel, and as metaphor for the concepts of fate, God, and the unknown. The Leviathan in Moby Dick symbolizes the power of God
diversity, while Ahab can only see whiteness. Melville uses the book’s narrator to convey the white man's true status in the world; Melville's white man is an equal to all other races. Ishmael is written to resemble Moby-Dick’s author by sharing Melville's opinions on whaling, spirituality, and philosophy. Ishmael is the only sailor to survive the sinking of the Pequod, which suggests that Melville pities these kind of white men, the men who are able to look beyond the whiteness (Berthod 139). Ishmael is
Knowledge As Ishmael tries, in the opening pages of Moby-Dick, to offer a simple collection of literary excerpts mentioning whales, he discovers that, throughout history, the whale has taken on an incredible multiplicity of meanings. Over the course of the novel, he makes use of nearly every discipline known to man in his attempts to understand the essential nature of the whale. Each of these systems of knowledge, however, including art, taxonomy, and phrenology, fails to give an adequate account.
chapter by Ishmael, “What and where is the skin of the whale?” (Melville 274) Ask anyone where the skin of an animal is that is in front of him or her and they would simply point downward to where the animal is, exclaiming, “right there on top.” But Ishmael wants to know everything about the whale. He wants to know about every layer and marking on the beast. In chapter 68 Ishmael talks about the skin of the whale, calling it a blanket, “for the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a real blanket
The Whale as Symbol in Moby Dick That there are various perspectives to the white whale as symbol is a result of the value which Melville accords the symbol as a medium of expression. Melville regarded the symbol as, what William Gleim terms, "a means of both revelation and concealment"(402). Visible objects are as masks through which one can educe universal and significant order. The "eyes are windows"(Melville, 9) through which one "can see a little into the springs and motives
Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, whiteness or the lack of whiteness plays a significant role. The whiteness of Ahab, Ishmael, and other sailors, and the lack of whiteness of Queequeg, and the whiteness of nonhuman components, like the whale and the ship, address the subject of race. Melville uses the motif of whiteness and the lack of whiteness to convey the theme that the white man’s reign in American is ultimately doomed. To fully understand Melville’s view on whiteness and race, one can look towards
In order to compare and contrast Ahab and Ishmael’s visions of the eponymous Moby Dick – and the quest to kill him – it is necessary to understand each man’s vision of the quest. Captain Ahab’s understanding of Moby Dick is multifaceted, including conceptions both personal and wide-thinking, both emotional and intellectual. It is appropriate, therefore, to examine this conception from the two sources Melville provides the reader: that from Ishmael, and that from Ahab’s own lips. From Ahab’s own lips
The deductions of the intelligence of the whale and his personality are unsatisfactory to Ishmael who seemingly wishes to deify the whale, so he creates a new pseudoscience of spinal phrenology. With this method the whales strength, power, and intelligence are procured, but as Harold Aspiz points out in his article "Phrenologizing the Whale," if the phrenology is to be taken seriously as a science, Ishmael has confirmed that the whales' "unquenchable dynamism is yoked only to brutish stupidity"
Although Captain Ahab’s and Ishmael’s conceptions of the eponymous Moby Dick and their quest to kill him are, in ways intellectual and emotional, similar, they diverge in that Ishmael’s conception of Moby Dick is organic and susceptible to revision, whereas Ahab’s is unchanging and linear. In order to compare and contrast Ahab and Ishmael’s visions of Moby Dick, it is necessary to understand each man’s vision of the quest. Captain Ahab’s understanding of Moby Dick is multifaceted, including conceptions