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Herman Melville's novel, "Moby-Dick," is a classic tale of a giant white sperm whale that encounters a whale hunter. Melville was inspired by his own encounter with a sperm whale and wrote the poem about Moby Dick, who ultimately becomes a hero. The novel has become an enduring classic, inspiring many books and film adaptations. Here are some facts about the whale that inspired Melville's story and poem.
Herman Melville's Moby Dick
Herman Melville's Moby Dick is a novel set in 1851 about a giant sperm whale, which is rescued by the captain of a whaling ship. In the novel, Ahab must save the life of his crew and himself by capturing the giant sperm whale, which he names Moby Dick. In addition to being a memorable story, Moby Dick is one of the best-known books about whales.
Moby Dick begins with a narratorial invocation, which identifies the narrator as an outcast, and recounts the last voyage of a Pequod whaling ship. The characters, all of whom have religious names, are depicted with religious symbols. Ahab, the ship captain, is named "Ahab" in the Hebrew Bible. While Melville may not have realized the significance of this name, his characters' names are reminiscent of figures from Abrahamic religion.
Herman Hawthorne's poem about Moby Dick
Herman Hawthorne's Moby Dick is an incredibly moving piece of literature. The tale of a young boy named Moby Dick is set in a coastal town during the mid-nineteenth century. While not a huge bestseller in its lifetime, Melville is best known for his lighthearted travel adventure stories set in the South Pacific. In the poem, Moby Dick tells the tale of a young boy who gets trapped in the town of Rappaccini.
Hawthorne and Melville's correspondence is an excellent example of how two writers can influence each other's work. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville were born in Salem, Massachusetts, they had both spent their youth in New York. Their relationship was somewhat strained and cooled during this period, but the two men would later meet twice more.
Herman Melville's sperm whale inspiration
Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick draws its inspiration from real-life whaling horror stories. The albino sperm whale, Moby Dick, attacked the whaling ship Pequod and bit off the captain's leg. The novel was met with mixed reviews and commercial failure. Melville died shortly after writing the book, and the inspiration for Moby Dick has endured.
Herman Melville spent a considerable amount of time aboard the whaling ship Acushnet, and he also consulted scientific and historical accounts for his novel. The story of the Essex, which was rammed by a bull sperm whale two times, was especially influential. Many of the survivors ended up dying of starvation. The story was so compelling that Melville chose to make his book based on the Essex's experience.
The sperm whale was a unique animal when it came to identifying its family members. Its long forehead made it difficult for people to distinguish the males from the females. While most cetologists do not believe sperm whales are aggressive, the ramming behavior is indicative of a powerful species of mammal. It is even possible that this behavior may have occurred in Captain Ahab's time.
Ishmael's encounter with Moby Dick
After rescuing the local bumpkin, Ishmael and Queequeg sail to Nantucket on the Pequod. They decide to take the same boat as their friend Peleg, who owns a ship with Quaker Bildad. Peleg warns them not to trust the new captain Ahab, but they decide to go anyway. Peleg's prophet, Elijah, predicts disaster before the voyage begins.
Ishmael is in need of cheap lodging. Peter Coffin, the tavern owner, offers him a room for a few dollars. However, Peter has gone out to 'peddle heads', so Ishmael has to sleep in his cabin. Queequeg appears scary, but Ishmael quickly warms up to him.
When Ahab finds the ship, he's happy that he's spotted another vessel carrying information about Moby Dick. However, the ship's crew is carrying a disease and cannot approach the wreck. Moby Dick attacks Ahab's ship and sinks it, causing a vortex. Captain Ahab, who has a leg cut off, survives.
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