Herman Melville, was born in 1819, in a very “good” neighborhood in New York. Many influences on Melville’s works were European literature, experiences in his travels, and tragedy in his life. Melville was born into the time when inspiring works of American literature began to emerge. Yet, European heritage in literature still had a strong hold on American writers of the time. Other contributions by Herman Melville were his narrative poems, and writings of other sea journeys.
Moby Dick is set in a time when whaling was a very well known trade, it was made popular because of the dyer need for oil for lamps. The time of the journey was started on a cold December day, where he enters with a carpet bag on his shoulder at the shipping port of New Bedford, and finds a room at the Spouter Inn with a massive South Sea Islander named Queequeg. ” What a pity they didn’t stop up the chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there. But it’s too late to make any improvement’s now. The universe is finished the copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago.” The setting, over all, suggests a rustic, hard seamens life on the open ocean, it being very hard on a man, but very fulfilling.
Characters in this classic novel are very unique, in physical, emotional, and mental aspects. Ahab is a one-legged man, feared by most of the crew, he is the Captain of the Pequod, and he has sworn death on Moby Dick, the great white whale, whom left Ahab with only one leg. Emotionally and mentally Ahab is a scared man, from his last encounter with Moby Dick, he seemed like a man very determined in his ways, willing full, and moody. The characters of this work have many impacts on the feelings in the book, Ahab is the strong force, while Ishmal, the narrator, is the understanding compassionate man of the Pequod.
The plot of Melville’s work is very distinguished in all perspectives of the novel. The exposition is set at the beginning when Ishmal sets forth on the journey on the whaling ship, the Pequod, with Captain Ahab. In Ishmal’s talking of the whale, and Ahab’s craving to put death to the great fish, the narrative hook is created. As the sign ups for the Pequod are occurring the action rises as the would-be crew members hear the name of the captain, “Ahab”. As the ship sets out on the water to sacrifice the “great whale”, Moby Dick, the climax is reached when the altitude of the “chase” begins.
The action falls as Ahab plunges th last harpoon into Moby Dick, and the rope grabs Ahab by the throat and both are pulled into the depths of the sea as the Pequod sinks. In the Revolution Fedalah’s prophecies are fulfilled, and it was not the whale seeking Ahab, it was Ahab’s evil seeking the whale. One of the many conflicts in this classic was having Ahab as the Captain, this is re! solved though through the crew learning to coupe with the strangeness, and moodiness of the determined old man. Another conflict is encountered between Ahab and the whale, which is resolved when the both parish, this is conflict that most stands out in one’s mind after reading Moby Dick.
Many themes are represented through the setting, plot, and different situations created by the characters of Moby Dick. A “life lesson” learned by reading Moby Dick is that life is like the sea, in that in life men have fears they must overcome to gain a fuller understanding of life, just as Ahab, and his crew, had to overcome there fears to understand more of the presence of Moby Dick.
Positives in this novel are prominent in the philosophy of Melville, and it’s aspects which can be inferred in man’s continual struggle with himself in this universe. This novel has influenced my attitudes and beliefs on the destiny of man and has shown me that there is more than one view of every object. It showed me that I need to be open minded and examine things from more than one viewpoint.