Instead, they may be interpreted as "a group of metaphysical parables, a series of biblical analogues, a masque of the situation confronting man, a pageant of the humors within men, a parade of the nations, and so forth, as well as concrete and symbolic ways of thinking about the White Whale". Many reviewers, Parker observes, had come to the conclusion that Melville was capable of producing enjoyable romances, but they could not see in him the author of great literature. Melville cannot do without savages, so he makes half of his dramatis personae wild Indians, Malays, and other untamed humanities", who appeared in "an odd book, professing to be a novel; wantonly eccentric, outrageously bombastic; in places charmingly and vividly descriptive". In effect, this parable can be seen as a warning to anybody who is looking down on others, because their state of life could quickly change. Like this lesson Share. Melville let his interest in the book be known to his father-in-law, Lemuel Shaw , whose friend in Nantucket procured an imperfect but clean copy which Shaw gave to Melville in April These expressions, as they occur in the novel, are as follows:
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale - Chapter 1 - Loomings
Surely all this is not without meaning. Who ain't a slave? Ishmael says he is not sure how the Fates acted in the way they did, but he feels that his presence on this boat to be described later , with this captain and crew, was somehow preordained, even though it seemed, at the time, that he was determining the course of his life. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling And there they stand- miles of them- leagues. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as a passenger. It is quite as much as I can do to take care of myself, without taking care of ships, barques, brigs, schooners, and what not. And it further forebodes his total aloneness at the end of the novel. Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it? Home About Story Contact Help.
Melville meant it only to identify the subject matter of the book. Fleece, at Stubb's request, delivers a sermon to the sharks that fight each other to feast on the whale's carcass, tied to the ship, saying that their nature is to be voracious, but they must overcome it. What subject do you teach? This renowned monster, who had come off victorious in a hundred fights with his pursuers, was an old bull whale, of prodigious size and strength. Porter praised the book, and all of Melville's five earlier works, as the writings "of a man who is at once philosopher, painter, and poet". Bercaw, "A Fine, Boisterous Something": Novel , adventure fiction , epic , sea story , encyclopedic novel.