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Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Modern Library Classics)

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Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Modern Library Classics) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

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?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Beverly Nelson, July 7, 2012 (view all comments by Beverly Nelson)

Moby Dick: astoundingly contemporary, transgressive / subversive / innovative even by today's standards, nothing you would have imagined from the clichés attached to it or the film (as good a film as it is, it is not the book). Witty, hilarious, mysterious, homoerotic, suspenseful, philosophical, political, scientific, historical, a social commentary as relevant today as it was in 1851....Melville defied all standards and wrote the way he wanted to, about what he loved, despite rejection. He was ahead of his time, a literary inventor and revolutionary. The result is a "story" that will harpoon you to the back of a white whale and give you the thrill of a lifetime!

Take my advice and go read it now!

Bon voyage!



And if allowed, I'd like to also recommend a book for after you're finished: Dan Beachy-Quick's A Whaler's Dictionary, sold also here at Powell's and published by Milkweed.

Beverly Nelson


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MelvilleLover, October 22, 2009 (view all comments by MelvilleLover)
Intense, wordy, passionate... everything whale. No other novel like it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679783275
Author:
Melville, Herman
Publisher:
Modern Library
Introduction by:
Hardwick, Elizabeth
Introduction:
Hardwick, Elizabeth
Illustrator:
Kent, Rockwell
Author:
Kent, Rockwell
Author:
Hardwick, Elizabeth
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Sea & Ocean
Subject:
Mentally ill
Subject:
Adventure stories
Subject:
Epic literature
Subject:
Whales
Subject:
Whaling
Subject:
Sea stories
Subject:
Allegories
Subject:
Ahab, Captain
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2000
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Modern Library Classics
Series Volume:
231
Publication Date:
20001031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
267 BandW ILLUSTRATIONS
Pages:
896
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1 x 1.4 in 1.325 lb

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Related Subjects

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Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Modern Library Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 896 pages Modern Library - English 9780679783275 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , October 18, 2001, marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the greatest novel in American literature. The Modern Library trade paperback edition exclusively features the timeless illustrations of Rockwell Kent, an Introduction by Elizabeth Hardwick, commentary by Herman Melville and William T. Porter, contemporary reviews from John Bull and The Critic, endnotes, and a reading group guide.
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