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Moby Dick – One of 100 greatest literary of America!


Moby Dick was first published in 1951. The work is a narrative of the character Sailor Ishmael about the haunting quest of Ahab – the captain of a whale-hunting ship. 

Moby Dick by writer Herman Melville has been chosen as one of the 100 best novels in America. So in this article, we will learn more about the author Herman Melville and the book that fascinated so many book lovers!

Who is Herman Melville?

Herman Melville is a famous American writer with a complicated fate. He started working very early, managing to watch and learn a lot. It was only in the early nineteenth century that he began to gain people’s attention. Melville began to be perceived by readers as a contemporary work, and his novel Moby Dick became the most important novel of its time.

Herman Melville

Melville was born on August 1, 1819, in New York. He started high school at the local boys’ school. When Herman was 12 years old, his father, who was involved in commerce, went bankrupt. The family had to move to Albany, where the boy could continue his studies. In 1832, his father passed away.

Without completing his high school education, Herman Melville was forced to start working to help support the family. The boy changed a few different jobs to have food – clothes. He used to be: a bank clerk, a farmer, a teacher at a local school.

At the age of 20, Melville changed his way of life to cruises – he got a job, first on a cargo ship, and then on a whaling ship. The extraction and sale of whale fat at the time was very popular and profitable. Here, many people have managed to make money. However, the young man quickly got tired of this job and after six months, he ran off the train while he was on one of the small islands.

There, he met and lived for at least six months in the local Typee tribe, a tribe of cannibals. Communicating with the locals, their color of life inspired the young writer to write the work of the same name, which was released in 1846 and very quickly began to gain popularity. Upon returning home, the young man began to think seriously about his future. He tried to get stuck with his studies. He read a lot, it was during this period that he began to write.

In “Typee”, the reader has felt the author’s style. The story takes place in the first person, and the main character describes his experiences, adventures, and journeys. The talented writer managed to thrill readers and await the long-awaited outcome because such stories were rare for the literature of the time. Much of Herman Melville is drawn from his own experience, but something is still fiction.

Another result of the young man’s continuous travels was the story of Omoo che. Stories show the lives of different classes, from the author’s point of view. Writers delight in many aspects of people’s lives. The story is vaguely perceived and the author even begins to be called slander. Herman Melville is an excellent observer and can study well people’s personalities and manners. In the novel, he vividly and colorfully depicts human characters, their greed and cruelty.

The young couple lives in the same house with Brother Herman’s family, mother and several sisters. At this time, Herman Melville repeatedly tried to get a job in state organizations, but with no success. In parallel, he continued to write.

After the novel “Moby Dick”, Herman Melville wrote a number of other novels such as Pierre, Israel Potter, Rogue … However, none of the works brought the author’s reputation, success, of course. does not bring him income. The family’s financial situation quickly deteriorated. Even the friendships with famous writers, among them still N.Gotorn, did not work.

In 1856, Melville was forced to sell half of her Massachusetts home to her brother. With the money received, the writer decided to continue the journey, hoping to regain physical health and moral calm. 

The author spent the last years of his life working on the story “Billy Budd, a pioneering sailor”. Writers do not have time to publish the work, the work is still in manuscript form. The story was only published in 1924 and was a huge success. The author has finally gained recognition. And after a lot of hard work in his career, until he died on 28th Sept in 1891, he still didn’t get much reputation as he deserved!

Literary language in Moby Dick

Moby Dick talks about the character Sailor Ishmael about Ahab’s haunting quest – the captain of a whale-hunting ship. On the journey, Ishmael soon realized that Ahab had purposefully found a white whale named Moby Dick. It is a very intelligent, ferocious, full of mystery whale. In an earlier encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab’s boat, amputating the captain’s leg, so now he decides to take revenge.

Moby Dick

The ship of the rewarding boat Ahab is always on the lookout, closely following Moby Dick. During the last hunting trip, the duel between the hunter group with the whale took place.

The author writes the book based on his experiences on the sea, reading books about whales, inspired by the works of Shakespeare and the Bible. The white whale described in the work is based on a real whale, and the end of the work is based on a shipwreck event by a whale.

In Moby Dick, the author Melville uses stylized symbols, languages and metaphors to open up many complex topics such as: life on a whale hunt among crews of culturally diverse, communal class. Assembly, good and evil and the existence of God … In addition to prose, Melville also uses many other literary styles and genres in the work, from songs, poems, and structures in Shakespeare’s theatrical works, speeches …

When author Herman Melville was alive, the work was not really successful. Only 3,200 copies of the book have been sold in the lifetime of the author. Until his death (1891), the name Herman Melville was almost forgotten. But the subsequent studies make the novel Moby Dick – The White Whale become the best work of American literature.

When the novel Moby Dick was rediscovered in the 20th century, it is considered one of the leading masterpieces of American literature in particular, world literature in general.


The Cambridge Introduction to Herman Melville

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