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Sample essay topic, essay writing: About A Whale - 670 words
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One of the first signs in the novel of the impending doom Ishmael will face is the name of the owner of the Spouter Inn: Coffin? Spouter? Rather ominous in that particular connexion, thought I (18). The chapel where people were worshipping the dead and the two trees that looked like a gallows near the Try-Pots Inn add to the mounting number of signs telling Ishmael to back away. However, Ishmael is an educated man; despite these rather peculiar premonitions, he will not be deterred from his course. When the prophet Elijah warns them about Ahab, saying, ..some sailors or other must go with him, I suppose; as well these as any other men, God pity em! (89) Ishmael tries to wave off the mans words as the ramblings of a trickster. However, in truth he is worried about the upcoming voyage.
As the chase for Moby Dick progresses, the signs become more and more obvious that the mission was doomed from the start. Ishmaels authoring of his own will, the encounter with a giant squid, the warning from Gabriel, the construction of Queequegs coffin, and many other signs all begin to accumulate. The effects of the speech that Ahab used to fire up the sailors are wearing off, and the sailors are truly beginning to fear for their lives. At one point near the end of their pursuit of Moby Dick, Starbuck, a man of morals and of God, actually seriously considers murdering Ahab: If, then, he were this instant put aside, that crime would not be his. (422). It also becomes increasingly evident that the signs being given to the Pequod are sent from heaven
The best example would probably be when Ahab climbs the crows nest, and has his hat plucked off his head by a hawk. The imagery of a man climbing towards the heavens searching for a God, only to have his hat knocked off is somewhat reminiscent of the Greek myth of Theseus. Theseus attempted to reach Olympus and the Gods by flying on Pegasus towards the heavens, but he was struck down and killed. Ahab receives a warning from heaven, and luckily has only his hat removed. Unfortunately, he pays it no heed. These strategically placed warnings are not meant to trick the reader and surprise them with a different ending; everything turns out as it was expected from the beginning.
This whole story is told in hindsight, with an ambiance of doom prevalent throughout. There is a feeling of helplessness that is pervasive among all the characters. Starbuck, who disagrees openly with Ahabs quest, resigns himself early on in subservience to Ahabs will and his own fate: God keep me! keep us all! murmured Starbuck, lowlyAhab did not hear [Starbucks] foreboding invocation (145). The men understand that they are doomed; they know that they are following a madmen on a suicide quest. However, they are trapped, isolated on a boat where their only hope is to trust in Ahabs intellect and leadership.
The helplessness of the situation adds to the mood of the novel. By knowing the ending and the plot of the novel, the reader is free to look beyond the superficial into the profound ideas Melville has throughout his book. This technique is extremely effective in drawing the readers attention to the greater meanings hidden within the text. Moby Dick is a rich, full novel. It is not an adventure story, it is not a suspense story; it is a naked representation of the futility of mans struggle against God.
There is next to nothing between the reader and the true purpose behind Melvilles writings other than the narration of Ishmael. He is the sole barrier between the Melville and his audience; he is simply a necessity to the format of a novel. What makes this work great is not the plot, the writing style, or the characters. Melville uses omens as a tool to reveal the plot to the reader, as they are guided towards an end that is both expected and craved.
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works About A Whale
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