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Moby Dick Unit

Pre-Reading; During-Reading; Post-Reading Lessons

Jason Romanowski

on 3 September 2012

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Transcript of Moby Dick Unit

Questions When you look at the night sky, or you are in a forest, by the sea, or on a mountain, do you think it’s possible to feel a sense of a higher power or a supreme being in the midst of nature? Do you believe the human race is set above nature or are we part of nature? Do you believe the United States was destined to expand west across the country? And is it our destiny to continuously promote and defend our democratic ideals throughout world? Do you believe that the morally correct action is for people to bring about the greatest amount of good and happiness to the greatest amount of human and non-human beings? In other words, the ends justify the means. Or is this an impractical and impossible way of thinking because it is too difficult to understand the possible effects it would have on all individuals involved? THE PEQUOD Ego non baptizo
te in nomine patris,
sed in nomine diaboli! Translation: I baptize thee not in the name of the Father,
but in the name of the devil! Melville once explained to Hawthorne that this line from the novel is a subtitle for Moby Dick. What do you think is the meaning and significance of the line?
OF THE UNITED STATES THE PEQUOD I think this is absolutely true! And here's why: I think it's possible, but I also have other ideas: I think this is
completely false! And here's why: Moby Dick is an allegoy about God The ship's name is an historical allusion to the Pequots, a tribe of Connecticut Indians, who were slaughtered by the New England Puritans in 1637. (pg.566) The Pequod is on a mission to hunt whales across the farthest reaches of the globe much like the U.S. is on a mission at this time to expand across the farthest reaches of land to the west according to their Manifest Destiny. The Pequod represents America's relentless drive for money, power, and success through the advent of Whaling and the Industrial Revolution. At the time of the novel's publication, the U.S. had 32 states. The Pequod has 32 crew members. And specific characters represent America's influence on other cultures. Tashtego is an American Indian; Daggoo is African, and Queequeg is a pagan savage. FATALISM On the second day of the chase
for Moby Dick,
Ahab declares to Starbuck: What do you think Melville is saying about the concept of Fatalism? The belief that all events are predetermined or already decided, and are therefore inevitable and unalterable. "Ahab is for ever Ahab, man. This whole act's immutably decreed.
'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders" (549) What is Ahab telling Starbuck?
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