From Library Staff
This symbolic account of the conflict between man and his fate is also a realistic account of a whaling voyage, drawing on Melville’s own experience as a merchant seaman.
From the critics
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The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.
Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
"Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever."
"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."
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Ishmael goes whaling with a friend but the Captain, Ahab, wants revenge on the whale Moby Dick for eating his leg. They kill lots of whales, meet many crazy people who are prophetic, meet other ships, go through tragedies, sail around, and end up all dying against Moby Dick except for Ishmael.
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