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Moby Dick by Herman Melville (REVIEW)

Even if that whale did happen to be the same whale that bit off said captain’s other leg, such a simplistic revenge plot would not have elicited as much appreciation as Melville’s Dick has.

3 months ago

Latest Post Star Ratings on planksip by Daniel Sanderson public

A CRITIC'S META REVIEW: 5/5

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1819-1891). Published by planksip

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1819-1891). Published by planksip

A CRITIC'S META REVIEW: 5/5

We all know the story by now. It’s become such an ingrained part of our culture that you’d be hard-pressed to find a single soul that didn’t at least have a general sense of what this story is about. Heck, I mean, it’s even the title of a Led Zeppelin song that features arguably the greatest, most inventive drum solo ever laid down by an actual living, breathing (well, at one point) human being in the history of live, recorded, or even imagined music. Quite fitting for a book held by many to be the greatest, most inventive exploration into the possibilities of the written word ever penned by an actual living, breathing (well, at one point) human being in the history of all literature.

Indeed, Moby Dick is about far more than a crazy old one-legged sea captain who is obsessed with finding some big whale. Even if that whale did happen to be the same whale that bit off said captain’s other leg, such a simplistic revenge plot would not have elicited as much appreciation as Melville’s Dick has. From the very first line - “Call me Ishmael” - we are whisked into the wild world of the whaler Pequod and all of its various crew, who all come from a variety of backgrounds, some rich, some poor, some good, some evil, all with one common purpose (for the most part) - to maintain the ship. The labyrinthine cast of characters, sudden changes in set and setting, shifts in style from prosaic to poetic to musical to Shakespearean to Biblical, and, of course, all of the subtle thematic examinations occurring at a deeper level (deeper than the deep blue sea on which this tale takes place) give this novel an almost psychedelic property, creating a world in which readers feel as if they’ve entered into some sort of fever dream. Reading Moby Dick is one of the most captivating experiences you will ever have in your life. Do it - seriously!

In terms of a philosophical underpinning, it’s been said that this book can be seen as an attack on transcendentalism, with all of its emphasis on self-reliance. In his portrayal of Captain Ahab as the logical result of what would happen should one attempt to exemplify Emerson’s thought process, perhaps Melville was seeking to deglorify some of the mystique surrounding all of that rugged individualism and reveal it for what it truly is: utter lunacy.

We all need someone to lean on, man. The ego ain’t your amigo.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1819-1891). Published by planksip

Published 3 months ago