Moby Dick Reflection

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As the story of Moby Dick starts, Ishmael, our narrator immediately establishes a direct relationship with the reader through the famous line, “call me Ishmael.” And as the story begins to unfold, the opening chapters paint us an image of who Ishmael is: a stoic young man, full of sadness, and consumed by wanderlust. Yet this information only scratches the surface of who our character truly is and the question can still be asked, “Who really is this character that is asking us to refer to him as Ishmael?” By doing a close reading of Chapter 68 The Blanket, we are given examples of how Ishmael thinks about, and views his surroundings, which help give us insight to who he really is. Ishmael is more than just a friendly and alluring narrator,…show more content…
Ishmael refers to the whiteness of the whale as many things, including “grand or gracious” and that “no man can deny that in its profoundest idealized significance it calls up a peculiar apparition to the soul.” (Melville 172) Ishmael ultimately concludes that the reason we are afraid of whiteness is because it represents things that are both beautiful and terrifying - an indefinite void that makes us think of atheism, nothingness, the absence of color, etc. This sort of thinking in Chapter 42 about the whale is abstract and philosophical, and in Chapter 68 we see Ishmael think in a natural and scientific way. This is important because it not only shows us that Ishmael uses his time at sea to think and learn about whales, but it also shows us that Ishmael is a very intelligent individual that is able to think about matters from multiple…show more content…
He compares them to the scratches on rocks along the New England coast that Louis Agassiz, a European geologist speculated to be caused by scraping up against floating icebergs. These images display the awe that Ishmael has for the whale both on an industrial level due to its ability to produce vast amounts of oil, but also because it is a mystifying creature. This thought process again is linked to Ishmael’s logical yet curious
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