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Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick

  

by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick Analysis

Literary Devices in Moby-Dick

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Humor columnist Dave Barry once gave potential English majors some advice using Moby-Dick as an example: Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example,...

Setting

This novel exists on an epic scale. How epic? Oh, epic enough that it takes you literally around the globe.When Ishmael decides to take a whaling voyage, one of his reasons is that he wants to see...

Narrator Point of View

Nothing, but nothing, about Moby-Dick is straightforward. Not even—maybe especially not—the point of view. And you thought the whaling chapters would be the hardest part of this book!For nearly...

Genre

Moby-Dick collects genres the way some people collect loose change: the novel has lots of them, all different types, tucked in its pockets and hidden in its rigging and floating alongside its whali...

Tone

The main term we’re going to use to describe Melville’s tone in Moby-Dick is versatile. It’s almost as though, to prove his greatness as a novelist, Melville’s writing his way through a var...

Writing Style

Yo, you're reading Moby-Dick, not Dick and Jane. This is an amazing (and hilarious) novel, but it takes a wee bit of work to get into the swing of Melville's writing.What do we mean when we say tha...

What’s Up With the Title?

So: this is a novel about a hunting quest, and the title of the novel is the name of the beast that’s being hunted: Moby-Dick, the White Whale (dum dum dummm). It does seem a little strange, thou...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

Moby-Dick never has just one of something when it could collect the whole set. It doesn’t have just one epigraph—it has eighty. Literally: eighty. We counted. We won’t reproduce them all here...

What’s Up With the Ending?

Actor John Moschitta, Jr., in a one-minute, fast-talking summary of Moby-Dick, ends by saying "and everybody dies but the fish and Ish." While that pretty much sums up what happens at the end of th...

Plot Analysis

Ishmael Goes On His First Whaling Voyage As A Common Sailor For A Three-year Term Aboard The Pequod.This is where it all starts: Ishmael gets the itch to go a-wandering and heads out into the wo...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Ishmael, Bored And Depressed, Feels A Strange Yearning To Go To Sea On A Whaling Ship.Ishmael’s feeling that there’s something in the air, something incomprehensible but powerful that’s dra...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Ishmael decides to go on a whaling voyage, travels to Nantucket, and finds a BFF, Queequeg, and a ship, the Pequod. After learning of Captain Ahab’s quest for revenge on Moby-Dick, Ishmael co...

Trivia

Although the novel itself is fictional, it’s based on a combination of real-life happenings: Melville’s own experiences as a cabin boy, sailor, harpooneer, and even mutineer on board me...

Steaminess Rating

There’s no sex in Moby-Dick. But there are two characters who share a bed, a fate, and all their worldly possessions, who like to snuggle and throw their legs across one another, and who are desc...

Allusions

Seneca and the Stoics (1.8, 75.10) Pythagoras (1.11, 98.8) Socrates (10.4) Edmund Burke (24.13) Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (35.9) Samuel Taylor Coleridge (42.5)Julius Caesar (6.5)Samue...

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