Saturday, March 21, 2020

English Essays (1590 words) - Moby-Dick, Captain Ahab, Moby Dick

English Moby Dick By Herman Melville The Characters and Plot There are numerous characters in Moby Dick, but only a few of them have any impact on the story. A common sailor named Ishmael is the narrator. The book, however, focuses on Captain Ahab, the one-legged commander of the whaling ship Pequod. Ahab has sworn to kill the gigantic whale Moby Dick, who took away his leg. Starbuck is the first mate of the Pequod. Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo are the three harpooners. The story begins with Ishmael becoming restless. He decides to go out to sea on a whaling ship. In the port of New Bedford, he meets and shares a room with a harpooner named Queequeg. The two of them become close friends, and agree to ship out together. The day after they reach Nantucket, Ishmael begins searching for a whaling ship preparing to leave harbor. Out of three ships ready to leave, he chooses the Pequod. The owners of the ship, Captains Peleg and Bildad are excited to hear of Queequeg from Ishmael and gladly let him join the crew. They are told the captain of the ship is named Ahab. Peleg and Bildad say that he is a good man, but because of some strange illness, he is confined to his cabin. On Christmas day, and with Ahab still in his cabin, the Pequod sets sail in the Atlantic. As the weather begins to warm up (several months after leaving port), Ahab is finally seen on deck. The strangest thing about Ahab is his leg. Instead of flesh and bone, he has a white ivory peg leg. As the weeks wear on, Ahab starts to become friendlier. One day, he calls the crew before him. He tells them that the sole mission of the Pequod is to kill Moby Dick. Moby Dick is a gigantic sperm whale with a crooked jaw and a deformed forehead. He has never been defeated, and has attacked and sunk entire ships. Ahab admits he hates Moby Dick for taking his leg away, and wants revenge. The crew agree to this challenge, and swear to hunt him down. The only who is not excited about hunting down Moby Dick is first-mate Starbuck. For many months, the Pequod sails South, through the Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope (the southern tip of Africa), and into the Indian Ocean. Along the way, they kill and drain the spermaceti oil from every sperm whale they encounter. Each time they meet another ship, Ahab begins the conversation with "Hast seen the White Whale?". Finally, after entering the Japanese sea, the Pequod encounters a whaling ship named the Enderby. The Enderby's captain had just recently lost his arm to Moby Dick. Ahab becomes so excited at the news that he breaks his ivory leg. The ship's carpenter builds him a new one. Once reaching the waters around the equator, the Pequod meets another whaling ship, the Rachel. They had seen Moby Dick, and had become separated from one of the whaling boats during the battle. Ahab refuses to help them look for the missing men. At last, Moby Dick is spotted by Ahab. In the first day of fighting, the whale is harpooned many times, but escapes after smashing Ahab's boat. On the second day, the whale is harpooned again, but still escapes. On the third day, Ahab's harpoon pierces the whale, but the rope catches him by the neck and Moby Dick drags him to the bottom of the sea. An angry Moby Dick rams and sinks the Pequod. Only Ishmael survives, and he is rescued by the Rachel. My Response Moby Dick was not the novel I expected. I was under the impression that it would be about seafaring and the whale Moby Dick. Instead, Moby Dick is a story about Captain Ahab's obsession. There is very little in the story about the revenge itself, just about Ahab's monomania. Out of 465 pages, only forty-two of them deal with the actual battle between Ahab and Moby Dick. The novel places very little emphasis on actual seafaring. Ishmael never even steps on a boat until page seventy-four. Even when the ship finally leaves port, the mention of anything involving sailing or the life of sailors is kept to an absolute minimum. There is, however, plenty of emphasis is on whaling, the anatomy of whales, and their behavior. The book goes into great detail describing the whalers of Nantucket, and gives in-depth explanations of the different types of whales, quoting several outside sources in the process. The narrator mentions the awesome size of the sperm whale, and how

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