The Book of Jonah and Moby Dick

The Book of Jonah and Moby Dick

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In the Book of Jonah and Chapter 9, “The Sermon” in Moby-Dick, there are similarities and differences in diction, descriptions, and graphics. These two brilliant pieces of literature use diction to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the important religious roles involved in the life of a sailor. With the help of Melville and the Book of Jonah, the reader is brought back in the past to relive these events as they happened. What is most intriguing is the fact that through the Book of Jonah and “The Sermon”, detailed descriptions allow the reader to see Jonah’s experience with God and the “fish” through two different perspectives. The use of graphics support the writer’s descriptions, while creating a clear picture of Jonah’s experience with God and what lies in the future for the sailors.
In English literature, diction is very important because it assists in conveying to the reader the meaning of the text. In the Book of Jonah, diction is a key literary device used in interpreting and analyzing the text. The writer uses three main types of diction including religious, archaic, and poetic. This is also written for the average reader using colloquial diction. Each of these mechanisms are extremely important in understanding the lessons intended for the characters and readers. Religious diction in prominent when the writer uses triplism to express importance of religion, “But the Lord ordained that a great fish should swallow Jonah, and for three days and three nights he remained in its belly”(Jonah 1:17). The practice of using thee, thy, thou, and didst’ all support archaism. However, when this was written it was common for these terms to be used. This supports a strong argument on whether or not this is really archaic diction. Poetic diction, in this work of literature, breaks up the structure of this piece, capturing the eye of the reader.
Descriptions always play an important part of a well-structured story. The uses of descriptions in the Book of Jonah create an imagery of the repercussions of defying God. The use of adjectives, adverbs, and modifiers in the poem depict a clear picture of Jonah living within the belly of the fish:
The water about me rose up to my
neck;
the ocean was closing over me.

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Weeds twined about my head
In the troughs of the mountains;
I was sinking into a world
Whose bars would hold me fast
for ever.
But thou didst bring me up alive
From the pit, O Lord my God. (Jonah 2: 5:6)
The vivid descriptions in this passage draw a mental picture of Jonah trying to stay a float in the belly of a fish, while begging God for forgiveness. The descriptions are so intense that I actually found myself feeling seasick during the hurricane and Jonah’s journey into the fish. In descriptive writing it is important for the reader to have a similar experience to what the writer is trying to convey. Without this effect you are just communicating to your reader the facts, which
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