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Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick

  

by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick Themes

Moby-Dick Themes

Revenge

Hey, the phrase "white whale" entered the lexicon as "something you obsess over until it destroys you" because of Moby-Dick. This isn't just a book about revenge; it's a book that added new phrases...

Man and the Natural World

We don't even have to look at this one symbolically: this is quite literally a book about a dude who goes out into the natural world to kill animals. And by the end of Moby-Dick the score is Natura...

Religion

Moby-Dick was way ahead of its time with respect to its views on religion. The novel shows equal respect for a wide variety of religious traditions and, at the same time, not-so-gently mocks the fo...

Race

The first thing the reader notices about race in Moby-Dick is the diversity of the cast of characters, which includes among its principals a South Sea Islander, a Native American, and an African tr...

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

The Pequod is the ship that launched a thousand jokes... jokes about dudes getting chummy while they're squeezing oozing gobs of spermaceti. Seriously. That happens.In Moby-Dick sexuality is expres...

Literature and Writing

Moby-Dick is a novel that never lets you forget that you’re reading a novel or that the story you’re hearing has been filtered through the perspective of a first-person narrator. It's chock-ful...

Fate and Free Will

Some novels might be subtle about issues of fate vs. chance, but subtlety isn't really Moby-Dick's thing. This book thrusts questions of free will vs. determinism right into the reader’s face, st...

Madness

Insanity, in Moby-Dick, means having a single-minded obsession over one thing or being completely possessed by one overpowering desire... like the desire to personally destroy a perfectly nice whal...

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