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Moby-Dickby Herman Melville
Synopses & Reviews
1. What is the significance of the whale? What do you think Melville intends in developing such a vicious antagonism between Ahab and the whale?
2. How does the presence of Queequeg, particularly his status as a savage, inform the novel? How does Melville depict this cultural clash?
3. How does whaling as an industry function metaphorically throughout the novel? Where does man fit in in this scenario?
4. Melville explores the divide between evil and virtue, justice and vengeance throughout the novel. What, ultimately, is his conclusion? What is Ahab's?
5. What do you think of the role, if any, played by religion in the novel? Do you think religious conventions are replaced or subverted in some way? Discuss.
6. Discuss the novel's philosophical subtext. How does this contribute to the basic plot involving Ahab's search for the whale? Is this Ishmael's purpose in the novel?
7. Discuss the role of women in the novel. What does their conspicuous absence mean in the overall context of the novel?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Responsive to the shaping forces of his age as only men of passionate imagination are, even Melville can hardly have been fully aware of how symbolical an American hero he had fashioned in Ahab." F. O. Matthiessen
Presents a new edition of the classic nineteenth-century tale of life aboard a New England whaling ship whose captain is obsessed with the pursuit of the huge white whale that had caused the loss of his leg. Reissue.
No American masterpiece casts quite as awesome a shadow as Melville's monumental Moby Dick.Mad Captain Ahab's quest for the White Whale is a timeless epic--a stirring tragedy of vengeance and obsession, a searing parable about humanity lost in a universe of moral ambiguity.It is the greatest sea story ever told.Far ahead of its own time, Moby Dick was largely misunderstood and unappreciated by Melville's contemporaries.Today, however, it is indisputably a classic.As D.H. Lawrence wrote, Moby Dick "commands a stillness in the soul, an awe . . . [It is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world."
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