Herman Melville: The Great American Writer

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Herman Melville: The Great American Writer

Everyone has heard of the novel Moby Dick at some point in their educational career, yet few know much about the life of its author. Herman Melville , the author of Moby Dick had an interesting life. Throughout his life he had many ups and downs. He was born on August 1, 1819 to a wealthy family that owned their own export business. This privileged life was short lived when Allen Melville, Herman's father, died in 1832. This was two years after the family business had gone under. Through this early example of a high and low in Melville's life you can see that his roller coaster like life was just beginning. In his writing you can see the three different stages that he had in his life. There are three stages to Herman Melville's life they are adventuresome young writer, mildly popular author, and finally a depressed old man who changed his entire style of writing. (Columbia 1, Padilla 1-2)

Melville's first novels come from his imagination and were inspired by trips that he took across the sea as a young man.Melville had a stint on a boat headed to Liverpool from New York in 1839, yet only spent one summer on it because he had to come home and help his family out with their monetary situation.Finally in 1841, Melville found his way back to adventure and sailing.He headed out to the South Seas on the Acushnet.On this voyage it is said that Melville and one of his shipmates abandoned ship and were held by a group of cannibals in the French Polynesia.This experience led him to write his first novel that was not published until 1846, Typee.It was named after the Typee people who Melville had supposedly lived with for four months; however, ship records show that he was on another ship only a month after he had supposedly been with the Typee.Melville's next trip that inspired his second novel was on the Lucy Ann, a ship that was sailing to Tahiti.The novel Tahiti and Omoo, written in 1846, 1847 respectively, are about Tahitian jails and revolts against the ship owners in Tahiti.These things never actually happened to Melville although his readers thought that they did.Melville was one of those authors who believed that bending the truth to make a great story was well worth it and his creative right.

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