Moby-Dick is an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaling ship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab does not mean to use the Pequod and her crew to hunt whales for market trade, as whaling ships generally do. Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby-Dick, a white whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaling ships know of Moby-Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to exact revenge.
In Moby-Dick, Melville employs stylized language, symbolism, and metaphor to explore numerous complex themes. Through the main character's journey, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of gods are all examined as Ishmael speculates upon his personal beliefs and his place in the universe. The narrator's reflections, along with his descriptions of a sailor's life aboard a whaling ship, are woven into the narrative along with Shakespearean literary devices such as stage directions, extended soliloquies and asides.
- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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A Great Summer Read
What ever your preconceived notions, if you are a reader you deserve to steep in this work.
I learned patience - to reread for understanding every once in awhile because the prose is weighty but worthy. Also, I was grateful for the instant definitions on my iBook edition.
I learned about whales and the whaling industry. I plan to follow up next week with a visit to the whaling museum in New Bedford, MA.
AND I learned something about the minds of men and how they work when under various stresses.
What a fun summer companion this book has been!
Moby Dick is not for the half-hearted, be they adolescents who are trying to skate by with the least effort, or simply those who look to literature as a distraction from life rather a mirror of it. But for those who are willing to set sail in more challenging waters, Melville's classic will not disappoint. It will take you into a coursing jet stream, exciting to navigate, both spiritually and intellectually.