View Full Version : melville's hidden agenda

06-10-2005, 03:39 PM
Did Herman melville write his novel, Moby Dick, and used it as a means to consciously and/or subconsciously wrestle with his sexuality and his religious beliefs?

01-22-2006, 07:05 PM
I have only one word for you...DUH...

01-22-2006, 07:28 PM
In what way? What leads you to ask the question? Are there specific passages or themes that you believe uphold such a theory? What is your opinion?

03-31-2006, 12:49 AM
Emily, you posted that just twenty minutes after the troll post, though it looks like the question remained open for seven months before. It was a good question, too.

It was Nathanial Hawthorne's wife, wasn't it, who praised Herman Melville for writing his intricate masterpiece, and supposedly thereby introduced the idea to a naive Herman Melville that Moby Dick was, indeed, an intricate masterpiece? I think that is how the story goes.

Herman Melville stole quite a bit about whales from other sources, and taped them into his story. And one of his most outstanding assertions is that of course whales are fish.

But my favourite chapter is the one about the boy learning from the older sailor, who feels pride in teaching the youngster—until he catches himself up with the admonition that the child could be Pythagoras himself, revisiting his mortal state. I love that. Every educator in the world should read that piece of wisdom, for we never know when we are leading, and when we are following.

I tried to read Moby Dick when I was too young, seeking an adventure tale of whales in the sea. I got no further than the sermon at the beginning. Where was all the action?

Since then I have read the book a few times. It is a wonderful book, beautifully ragged around the edges. It is sometimes brilliant, and sometimes lost. Near the beginning, we are introduced to the fantastic Mr. Queequeg (is that has name? It's been a few years), whom we can never forget—but Herman Melville seems to forget, with ever so few references to him afterward.

When I visited friends in Sag Harbour, on Long Island, a dozen years ago, I was able to suggest to them who else might have been walking those same streets some time before. I peopled Sag Harbour with a few of Herman Melville's sailors, though I was the stranger, and my friends the residents of the place.