The book features gay marriage, hits out at slavery and imperialism and predicts the climate crisis — years after the birth of its author, Herman Melville, it has never been more important. T hursday marks the th birthday of Herman Melville — the author of the greatest unread novel in the English language. It is the Mount Everest of literature: huge and apparently insurmountable, its snowy peak as elusive as the tail of the great white whale himself. Perhaps it was because I saw it on a tiny black-and-white TV, but the whole story seemed impenetrable to me. I would have been even less keen had I known that the whale footage Huston did include had been specially shot off Madeira, where they were still being hunted. Forty years later, I saw my first whales in the wild , off Provincetown, a former whaling port on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
In a work of literature, a theme is a recurring, unifying subject or idea, a motif that helps us understand a work of art better. With a novel as richly ambiguous as Moby-Dick , we look at themes as guides, but it is important to be flexible while we do so. A good deal is left to individual interpretation so that one reader might disagree with another without necessarily being "wrong" or "right" about what the novel is saying. With that in mind, consider the following sections.
Pull my boys! In high school and college, I was never assigned to read Moby Dick. How could it be that I was never forced to read such a famous book? I just finished reading it, and here are some quotes. At the beginning of the book, before the Pequod sets sail, the main character, Ishmael, is looking for a hotel.
The son of a South Sea chieftain who left home to explore the world, Queequeg is the first principal character encountered by the narrator, Ishmael. The quick friendship and relationship of equality between the tattooed cannibal and the white sailor show Melville's basic theme of shipboard democracy as well as his fondness for Polynesians see Typee , Omoo and Mardi. Once aboard the whaling ship Pequod , Queequeg becomes the harpooner for the mate Starbuck. Near the end of the novel, he "casts the runes", which say he will die. The coffin is later converted to a lifebuoy after the ship's original one is lost.