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Moby Dick; by Herman Melville

O'Brien AP English Pd 1

Michelle P

on 9 May 2011

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Transcript of Moby Dick; by Herman Melville

Moby Dick By Herman Melville Summary Summary Moby Dick tells story of the ill-fated voyage of a whaling ship, the Pequod. A merchant sailor on his virgin whaling trip, Ishmael, narrates the tale. After setting sail from Nantucket, Mass. the Pequod heads to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans to hunt whales.
The ship's Captain Ahab is less concerned about the profits of the voyage and more concerned about getting revenge on a "great white whale," Moby Dick, for the loss of his leg.
Ultimately, Ahab's fixation on revenge drives the ship and it's crew to untimely destruction. Ishmael, the sole survivor, is able to retell the story. 1819 - 1891 Melville was born in New York City 1819 1819 Melville faced financial difficulties throughout his early life and was forced to begin working at the age of 13. After trying his hand at many jobs on land, Melville began working at sea. During one of his sea voyages, Melville and a shipmate wound up on the Marquesas Islands. Melville was separated from his colleague and spent a month in the habitat of a native cannibal tribe, inspiring the writing of his book, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian life. 1851 Melville wrote other ocean-inspired pieces leading up to his best known work, Moby Dick. Despite being regarded as a classic currently, the public rejected the novel during Melville's time. Later in his life, Melville turned to poetry. After 72 trying years, Melville passed away from a heart attack. Influences of the Time Cultural & Philosophical Literary Movements Romanticism Romanticism Transcendentalism Imagination Emotion nature individuality exotic elements Although a literary movement at the time, Melville was considered an anti-Transcendentalist writer and was also referred to as a Dark Romanticist. Transcendentalism/Romanticism Anti-Transcendentalism/Dark Romanticism Man is good Man has the capacity for evil Intuition transcends experience, better guide than logic and reason--
the characters look inwardly, instead of seeking help and consulting logic outwardly, to make decisions. Both Divinity is present everywhere--
Melville makes many Biblical references throughout the novel Reality is pale and empty Reality is colorful, vibrant Melville looked for ideas from Shakespeare and the Bible Whaling novels were popular at the time He also admired the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and drew inspiration from pieces of Hawthorne's such as the Scarlet Letter. Press play to listen during presentation.

Symphony no. 3 in E Flat Major
by Schumann
circa. 1850 Themes in Moby Dick Civility in Man "Savage though he (Queequeg) was . . . his countenance yet had a something in it which was
by no means disagreeable.
You cannot hide the soul.
Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I
saw the traces of
a simple honest
(Melville 49). In these few chapters of the book, Ishmael befriends Queequeg, a cannibal of royal blood in his home tribe. Despite his appearance and skin color, Queequeg shows his noble disposition to Ishmael. The chatacter of Queequeg challenged what was believed to be complete savagery during Melville's time. He was shown as caring and compassionate; Queequeg was capable of love and friendship. After saving a shipmate that had been thrown overboard by a boom, Queequeg "did not seem to think
that he at all deserved a medal from the Human and Magnanimous
Societies. He only asked
for water..."
(Melville 61). "How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends . . . Thus, then, in
our hearts' honeymoon,
lay I and Queequeg--a
cosy, loving pair"
(Melville 52). The Life and Times of Herman Melville Dangers of Monomania MONOMANIA (noun)
: mental illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought
: excessive concentration on a single object or idea --Merriam-Webster's Dictionary Works Cited "Dark Romanticism: The Ultimate Contradiction." ThinkQuest. Web. 01 May 2011. <Dark
Romanticism: The Ultimate Contradiction>.

Gaither. "American Literature Major Movements and Terms." GPS Faculty Pages. Web. 01
May 2011. <http://staff.gps.edu/gaither/literary_movements.htm>.

"Herman Melville." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Academy of American Poets.
Web. 01 May 2011. <http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/236>.

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. Canada: Random House, 1950. Print.

"SparkNotes: Moby-Dick: Context." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides.
Sparknotes. Web. 01 May 2011. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/
mobydick/context.html>. Presentation by: Michelle Perry
O'Brien AP English Period 1 Ahab has a fixation on only one goal throughout the novel: seeking revenge on the "great white whale" who is Moby Dick. Because of his monomaniacally-driven singular focus on attaining revenge, Ahab becomes enveloped in his goal, and the slow loss of his sanity can be observed. . . . [Ahab] shouted out: 'Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up.
And this is what ye have shipped
for, men! to chase that white
whale on both sides of land,
and over all sides of earth,
till he spouts black blood
and rolls fin out' "
(Melville 161). During a conversation, Ahab addresses the Pequod's blacksmith, " ' In no Paradise myself, I am impatient of all misery
in others that is not mad. thou should'st
go mad, blacksmith; say, why dost
thou not go mad? How can'st
thou endure without being mad?
do the heavens yet hate thee,
that thou can'st not go mad?' "
(Melville 482). 1891 Ahab, sitting alone in the cabin, remarks to himself "They think me mad--Starbuckdoes; but I'm demonaic, I am madness maddened! That wild maddness
that's only calm to comprehend itself!
The prophecy was that I should be
dismembered; and--Aye! I lost this leg.
I now prophesy that I will dismember
my dismemberer. "
(Melville 166). The book focuses partially on Ishmael making a personal journey to learn about himself and whaling. Throughout the story the emotions and inner thoughts of Ishmael and the other sailors are catalogued. The story takes place in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, exotic in location for both the distance from America and the off-land setting. Oceanic elements such as whales, water, and sealife are present and described in detail throughout the novel. The story of Moby Dick is an adventurous voyage that, through bringing together elements that the reader would have little knowledge of, requires him or her to invoke their own imagination to enjoy it. Captain Ahab brings death and destruction upon his crew solely to pursue his own desires. The setting of Moby Dick is constantly transforming; it is "fluid" like the ocean, never stagnant or boring.
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