Moby Dick Book Report

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Moby Dick Book Report


Melville’s Moby Dick novel is among the greatest novels in the American literature. The novel talks about the tragic story of a failed attempt at revenge. Ahab enters into a revenge mission against the sperm whale for he considers it a supernatural malice creature. This tragic story is narrated by an adventurous young man, Ishmael, who wants to sail with a whaling ship under the monomaniacal Captain Ahab’s command. Published in 1851, Moby Dick talks about Ahab, a captain who gets obsessed with defeating a whale, a whale that has already reaped the best of him. The narrator, Ishmael is about to begin his first whaling adventure.

This paper will explain the likes and dislikes presented and evidenced in Herman Melville’s novel in relation to the materials of this course.


The Likes about Moby-Dick

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick starts with the very famous line, “Call me Ishmael” (Melville 3). Ishmael is the narrator and is a former schoolteacher who later decided that hunting for whales could make him feel like a better and complete individual in life. The reputation of Moby Dick invariably precedes it. This young man has experienced the sea environment four times under the merchant service but still crabs for a whaling adventure. On a cold and gloomy night, Ishmael reaches the Spouter-Inn in Massachusetts, where he accepts to sleep on a same bed with a stranger person. The two guys get alarmed when the bunkmate named Queequeg gets back late and realizes that Ishmael is beneath his covers. The most liked part of this instance is when the two men soon get to be close friends and decide to sail together.

Another liked instance in the novel appears in Nantucket, when the two sign on with the Pequod. Queequeg is seen to be excellent with the harpoon, and thus a more attractive worker. The narrator, Ishmael is seen to lack any substantial ambition and thus viewed as a common sailor. Captain Ahab is seen nowhere; nevertheless, the sailors by far hear of him. Captain Ahab is a “grand, ungodly, god-like man” (Chapter 16), but a man of few words. What attracts readers more in this instance is the unravelling of a prophet of doom, Elijah, who gets the two friends on the dock and, and to Ahab he hints trouble. A great mystery grows during the Christmas morning when the narrator spots dark items in the mist, and apparently boards the Pequod prior to its sailing.

Also, the readers like it that Captain Ahab’s revenge mission is made known to the sailors. In the novel, Ahab is seen gathering the crew team together to solicit their support in his sole aim for this voyage: hunting the White Whale and Killing it- the Moby Dick. The Moby Dick is seen to be a very big sperm whale that has a snow-white end. In the entire crewmen, it is Starbuck who only resists the monomaniacal and charismatic captain; the first mate repeatedly argues that the ship’s objective should be gathering whale oil and going back at home while safe. Apparently, Starbuck even acquiesces.

Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick is not just a boring narration about a whale. Until today, its popularity and value is still strong and enjoyed by many readers thanks to the author’s raunchy jokes about sperm whales. However, the fact that Moby Dick story talks about evil and revenge, it is a great story and does not hurt either. Captain Ahab searches for a white whale with one desire for revenge, “vengeance on a dumb brute.” (Ch. 36). Moby Dick is among the most dreaded stories for college students, due to its being extremely long, boring and elaborate. In this essence, Moby Dick fits in the oceans and marine life analyses given its entire involvement of whales. This is the most interesting part of the novel. The founders of Starbucks chose such a name due to its association with the ocean. Initially, the founders were to name the company after the ship narrated in the story by Ishmael, the ‘Pequod,’ but this sounded kind of gross.

The other important aspect liked by the readers is the interest in the pop-culture used by Herman Melville; the author considers this by writing about a bunch of semen that searches for a gigantic sperm whale with the name ‘Dick.’ The audience cannot fail to notice and enjoy this obvious humor used by the author in the story. Also, while Moby Dick story is a rather serious narration about revenge and evil, the story is full of vulgar sex jokes that make us the readers to even blush. No reader can dislike such use of humor in the story. In simple terms, Moby Dick entertains the readers in various levels and is worth to read in the marine class courses, in spite of its reputation in the modern date.

But, Moby Dick’s plot goes beyond just a differentiation on the plots employed by other writers at Melville’s time, before, and after this literary work. The manner in which Melville arranges his work makes the novel incomparable to other literary works. The manner by which Moby Dick is narrated in general terms captures readers’ attention, experiences, and diversity of interpretation. In the end, the subject of the novel rotates under the humor where Captain Ahab is seen relentlessly hunting for the white whale. Ahab chases the Moby Dick relentlessly in three chapters of the play.


The Dislikes about Moby-Dick

During the voyage’s first chase of the white whale, a mystery of dark figures gets manifested long before meeting Moby Dick. The readers do not like it when they realize that Ahab secretly brought along the crew in boat, led by an old Asian, Fedallah, an inscrutable figure whose odds influence Ahab. Later in the story, as Fadallah guards the captured whale, she tells Ahab a prophecy of his death. This does not leave the audience happy of their relationship and end result of the prophecy. Later, Queequeg gets fatally ill and orders for a canoe-shaped coffin.

When Ishmael mediates on the whiteness connotations, The Whiteness of the Whale, the narrator merely cannot be proved to be probing the depths of a certain subject, instead, Ishmael engages in a more philosophical and critical exercise. The whale’s whiteness gets to be among one of the endless numbers of matters that every reader finds difficult to interpret and get its meaning. Readers dislike digression of narrative subjects, the white color of the whale depresses the narrator since it consistently connotes contradictory instances and also creates no meaning at all to the readers. Ishmael ends this by saying ‘The Whiteness of the Whale” when he tells us that “of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol” (Melville 212). This whiteness brings a lot of uncertainties. This brings a lack of understanding and trust posing potential challenges allured of Moby Dick. In this instance, Ahab is seen to be more active with an antagonistic obsession with the meaning of things, and this unfolds during Captain’s hunt for a whale.

Further, Ishmael approaches all knowledge possibilities with more contemplation- and this is not right at all. When Ishmael laments the inability of all visual artists to the inaccurate representation of the whale, the narrator sums this and associates it with the varying habitat and features, “there is no earthly way of finding out precisely what the whale looks like” (Melville 289). Ishmaels says that, for a sailor to go closer to the white whale, “you run no small risk of being externally stove and sunk by him” (Melville 289). In this instance, the narrator’s sentiments could be untrue and unwelcome to the readers. This is because Ishmael means that Captain’s goals for certain kind of ultimate honesty are not associated with any death risks at all.

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick poses a similar challenge for the reader that the whale does for Ahab and Ishmael. The two characters resist all, and this encompasses conclusive attributes. Also, the novel is multifaceted and capacious that broad statement about its meaning seems attentive, but the worst part of it is its absurd reductively. At the end of the story of “Cetology,” the narrator notifies the readers that the efforts of relating every fact known about whales remain unfinished. Ishmael then proceeds to narrate that the “whole boo is but draught-nay, but the draught of a draught” (Melville 157).

Relation of Moby-Dick to Course Materials

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick novel perfects fit in marine life and mammals. The author, Melville majors more on marine life and life at sea as the characters sail. Ahab, the Captain, is on a revenge mission against the white whale. Whales are marine mammals. In the novel, the author writes about a sperm whale. When this novel is written, whalers believed in sperm production. Ishmael connotes his narration in the context of Captain Ahab and the Moby Dick- in this case, the whale. There is a great relationship between people and the marine mammals- since all have bones as explained in the course materials.

Moby Dick’s cetology by the Narrator, Ishmael, is zoologically classified of whales. Although the novel is full of fictional works, Melville adds sequential chapters largely related with a pseudo-objective discussion of whales properties. Based on the list of course materials, the observations in addition to the author’s own experiences of the 1840’s whaling patterns, features various species observations from a Cetacean order. The observations of Ishmael form a complete marine study of whales, their behaviors, and their relationship with beings.

Further, ocean life is composed of fish, whales, invertebrates, and other marine mammals. Throughout the novel, the Moby Dick appears in three chapters of the entire book. The waves caused in the sea are highly attributed to the whales’ movement, and this is evidenced in Ahab’s case. The book itself brings more sense and sound about sperm production by Whales- and this multiplies marine mammals. In the first instance, the whaling cruise is set underway, and the persona recedes this from the narrative for Captain Ahab’s mission at first is seen to be private and unknown to the sailors or rather the Pequod’s crew.

Additionally, Melville’s Moby Dick features a story of a mad one-legged Ahab, the captain whose chases a white whale. A white whale is a marine mammal, whose ecosystem is water. The novel reputes itself as a tale of a whaling voyage, which expands from there as if to encompass the entire existence. The narrator admits his being overwhelmed by the nature of the ecosystem and environment in which they are sailing at the sea hunting for a whale. To Ishmael, everything in sea life is connected and “there is no staying in any one place; for at the same time everything has to be done everywhere’. Considering the subject from the angle of marine/ water life, this poses philosophical questions whose answer can only be derived from environmental experts.

Another fact of Moby Dick’s applicability in the context of marine life is the sperm whales production of intense clicks. These sounds may be utilized for communication between whales during their mating and fertilization. The questions about how a whale eat, where sperm whales live, identification of sperm whales, and their habits in the marine ecosystem is brought forth to review. In marine studies, sperms have huge heads of at least 40 percent of their body length. This is evidenced in character Moby Dick’s size in water that gives him the power to cause fatal accidents in the sea. Generally, Melville’s Moby Dick novel focuses more on the sperm whale- and this brings the topic of marine life into existence and manifestation in the story.



At the end of Melville’s Moby Dick, the White Whale rams into the Pequod, making her sink and also killing all sailors, except the narrator. Also perished is Captain Ahab, after he is tangled up in a harpoon line and gets dragged out to sea by the Moby Dick. In simple terms, this is a brutal fate that provides no solace for the audience. This ending can be interpreted in many ways. One is that Captain Ahab and the Pequod’s death anodes the dangers of revenge and obsession. Another interpretation is that Mother Nature is set to forever outshine humanity and its futile endeavors to tame her. Also, the other personal favorite interpretation is that Captain Ahab’s death and the victory to the whale directs to human’s inability to find out the most ultimate meaning for human life. Human existence gets doomed to fail by nature, since the task is insurmountable and mammoth as a White Whale. Given the undoubtable depression of this last reading, Moby Dick reveals the author’s brilliance, when it presents Melville’s wrestling with classic modernist challenges prior to the existence of modernism.

Work Cited

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. New York City: Oxford, 1851.

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