Moby Camille Dick By Herman Melville: An Analysis

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Moby‑Dick a novel by Herman Melville is a thought-provoking text, not merely due to the topic of whaling, or layers upon layers of symbolic meaning, rather it is the novels attitude concerning literature, where upon every page Melville explores the limitless nature of what literature is and what it can be. This paper will explore the novels status as a somewhat cenotaph by examining the distinctive Chapter seven, “The Chapel”, as well as the opening “Etymology” and “Extracts,” “The Lee Shore” in Chapter 23, and finally “Cetology” in Chapter Thirty-two; as it is between these pages and chapters that authenticate the novels function as a form of memorialization. Actually, even the book’s dedication to Hawthorne bares remarkable likeness to the …show more content…
Though it further communicates the complexity of literature and how different evidences can cause one’s interpretations and understandings to shift. This novel begins by revealing its heterogeneous nature, a text that reveals the endless characteristics of what literature is and what it possibly can be. Something paramount when reviewing the novel itself as a kind of cenotaph as these suggestions create tiers of meaning that are ever shifting. The Usher portrayed as “ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars” supplies an etymology of the word “whale” and in the subsequent “Extracts” the Sub Sub Librarian “appears to have gone through the long Vaticans and street stalls of the earth, picking up whatever random allusions to whales he could find in any book whatsoever, sacred or profane” (Melville, 2 to 5). This opening to the novel reveals that Moby‑Dick is fanatically self-conscious as a text struggling to be composed. In a sense, this novel is about texts as it continuously refers to texts, be it through references to itself, to other texts and the physicality of books or to text in unexpected forms such as cenotaphs. Richard H. Brohead mentions in his essay: Trying all Things: An Introduction to Moby Dick that “literature is not only created in words but creates through words; that if it gives us the world to apprehend anew, it does not do so apart from its language, but through its vital working of the medium of words” It is Broheads sentiments regarding literature that illustrate how the reader or observer is able to use the foundations of this novel and build upon them to create the “copestone”. Therefore, the reader, has the aptitude to review the novel as a somewhat cenotaph, if they so please. In a sense readers, somewhat collaborators, are the “posterity” that add to the meaning of the

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