Two of Herman Melville’s literary masterpieces involve the concept of his characters being either “civilized” or “savage”. In his first novel Typee, Melville sets imagery of a crew being out at sea for sixth months without seeing neither land nor food. Throughout the trip our main character and narrator Tommo is subjected to verbal abuse on the ship and wishes to jump off. He is accompanied by his ship mate Toby also wants exposure to new unmarked lands of the Marquesas to eat tropical fruits and be merry. As soon as they see a different ship sail by they plan to hop on. The con to their plan however is that they must be well aware and cautious of the Typee who are rumored to be cannibals by nature and roam the islands. Throughout the novel there are plenty of self-conflicts that Tommo experiences.
Moby Dick is an extremely long novel
written by Herman Melville. This book is an epic tale of a
crazed sea captain hunting the whale that bit off his leg told
through the eyes of a school teacher. As the story begins
Ishmael is at the local boating dock looking for work.
Ishmael being a school teacher has allot of time off as of the
moment because the school is at recess, for what reason i
don't know. He is in a tavern talking amongst the whalers.
Contained in the text of Moby Dick, Herman Melville uses many widely cultural symbols, stories and actions to tell the tale of a whaling ship bent on the desires of its captains abhorrence for a real, and also symbolic, creature in the form of an albino sperm whale named Moby Dick. The time is 1851 and civil unrest is looming just over the horizon: slavery is the main point of interest in American politics, the last major novel released was The Scarlet Letter, Millard Fillmore becomes the 13th president following the untimely death of then president Zachary Taylor; the Fugitive Slave Act legally mandates all runaway slaves to be returned to their owners (regardless of what state in the union they were found); and religion is a driving force that defines both social and political actions. These among other things effected and determined the cultural climate of the United States found in Moby Dick. Herman Melville uses an isolated boat analogously to create and explore a microcosm of American culture and civilization. The story of Moby Dick is more than one of revenge, but an allegory of American culture and political unrest.
Moby Dick on American Society
Has the book Moby Dick ever made you to pick it up and read it? Do you ever wonder why you see many references everywhere from Moby Dick? I want to tell you a little bit about how Moby Dick had made such a huge hit many years after it was published. The book Moby Dick had an impact on american society through pop culture, people’s reactions, and historical events related to the book.
Moby Dick had the biggest impact on pop culture through american society since there was so many things referred to Moby Dick.
In the year 1891, Herman Melville, of New York City, New York, passed away, saddening a wide and diverse fan base that extended across the globe. His works can be enjoyed whether your 6 or 60, relating to everyone because his books involve real people with flaws and downfall, and basic human emotion.
“Ishmael’s discourse is often calculated to undercut the myth of white supremacy, asserting that society’s survival may ultimately depend on the acceptance of Ishmael’s democratic vision (seeing equality in diversity) and a rejection of Ahab’s tyrannical one (seeing only white).”
In Melville's Moby-Dick, or The Whale, Ahab calls himself "madness maddened" and across the oceans he unleashes his madness in an unerring quest to wreak his hate upon the white whale, that agent or principal of the "inscrutable malignancy" lurking behind the phenomenal world. Milder asserts that by making Ahab mad, Melville found the means to present an apocalyptic act of a hero, free of the constraints of realism, that might express the disillusionment of the cultural moment that had witnessed the end of religion, the frustration of the Romantic quest, and the end of the possibility for spiritual meaning in the universe. Thus, Ahab is rendered believable. But by making Ahab mad, he risked rendering him irrelevant. For Ahab to remain important for the reader, he must not be reduced to mere madness. Once he speaks only for the aberrant, one need no longer grapple with him, need not account for Ahab. We dismiss Calibans, Pucks, even Iagos, but we cannot easily dismiss Lear and McBeth and Hamlet or Ahab. The madman and the possessed can be exiled from our affinities as wholly "other," such that one inscribes their behavior in a circle of experience separate from our own, for unless by some event beyond our control we ourselves become monsters or madmen, the madman's reality remains sufficiently and safely different from our own. To attempt to account for Ahab, one must acknowledge his reality as a possible reality and admit the potential for the Ahabian in one's own possible reality.
Although Ahab’s insanity appears to be what shuts him off from humanity, in reality it is what makes him human. Ahab desperately wants to be freed from his obsession – to not have to rely upon it to feel. It is because Ahab is no longer in control of his obsession that the reader eventually discovers that besides what the book originally seems to insinuate, Ahab is only human.
Fate is once again brought up as Melville describes Ahab’s appearance. Although Ahab’s eyes are not literally fiery, and you cannot see his “fatal pride” this description shows how eager Ahab is for revenge, but more importantly how he will ultimately die after encountering Moby Dick. Ahab has slowly become more out of touch with reality and reason, so much that he refuses to use the compass or listen to his crew. Ahab is determined to catch Moby Dick and there is no stopping him. With absolute control over the ship, the image depicted in the quote is one of power, terror, and upcoming death. Refusal to risk hurting his pride will lead to Ahab’s ultimate downfall, and it is his inevitable fate.
In The Town-Ho’s Story, Melville uses many different types of figurative devices to describe the relationship between Steelkilt and Radney. Radney is known and described as the inferior, yet higher ranked, mate, while Steelkilt is described as the more respectable, but lower ranked mate. Melville faintly, yet noticeably relates Moby Dick as a God and Steelkilt as Jesus. Such clever biblical allusions accurately describe Moby Dick and Steelkilt and although Melville does not give any biblical significance to Radney, the readers can still clearly visualize Radney’s character. The Town-Ho’s Story has symbolic significance that both foreshadows and describes Radney, Steelkilt, Moby Dick, and the fate of the Pequod.