A Critical Analysis of Herman Melville\'s Moby Dick


“Moby Dick is biographic of Melville in the sense that it discloses
every nook and cranny of his imagination.” (Humford 41) This paper is a
psychological study of Moby Dick. Moby Dick was written out of Melville\'s
person experiences.
Moby Dick is a story of the adventures a person named Ishmael. Ishmael
is a lonely, alienated individual who wants to see the “watery part of the
world.” Moby Dick begins with the main character, Ishmael, introducing himself
with the line “Call Me Ishmael.” (Melville 1) Ishmael tells the reader about
his background and creates a depressed mood for the reader. Call me Ishmael.
"Some years ago-nevermind how long precisely- having little or no money in my
purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail
about a little and see the watery part of the world." (Melville 1) Ishmael
tells the reader about his journeys through various towns such as New Bedford,
Nankantuket. Eventually while in Nankantuket, Ishmael signed up for a whaling
voyage on the Pequod. The Pequod was the whaling boat Ishmael sailed on where
such characters as Queequeq, Starbuck, and the captain of the ship, Ahab, all
journeyed together.
Not long once at sea, the captain of the ship, Ahab reveals his plan to
hunt down a white whale named Moby Dick. Ahab was veteran sailor, a man that had
a heart of stone. Ahab had a personal grudge against Moby Dick. Moby Dick was
responsible for taking off Ahab\'s leg in a previous voyage. Ahab\'s plan was
essentially an unauthorized takeover, what the whaling company had not in mind.
Ahab was very irrational and ludicrous; his plan seals the fate for himself and
the crew of the Pequod. In the tragic ending of Moby Dick, all of the
characters die except for Ishmael. Ishmael survived Moby Dick\'s attack of the
ship with the help of a coffin that his close friend Queequeq built. Ishmael of
Moby Dick was a special character because he closely relates to the author\'s
own life. There are many symbolism\'s between Ishmael of Moby Dick and Herman
Melville\'s own life. The name Ishmael can be traced back to the Bible. The
Biblical story of Ishamel is one of a rejected outcast. This “rejected outcast”
can be linked to Ishmael of Moby Dick and Herman Melville\'s own life. In Herman
Melville\'s Moby Dick, Ishmael is symbolic of the author\'s own life.
Herman Melville\'s childhood played an important part in his life.
Herman Melville\'s childhood is evident throughout his writings. Herman
Melville\'s childhood was an unconventional one. There were many twists and
turns that Herman experienced. Melville was born on August 1, 1819, in New York
City, the third of eight children. His mother\'s family the Gansevoorts of
Albany were Dutch brewers who settled in Albany in the seventeenth century
achieving the status of landed gentry. “The Gansevoorts were solid, stable,
eminent, prosperous people; the (Herman\'s Father\'s side) Melvilles were somewhat
less successful materially, possessing an unpredictable. erratic, mercurial
strain.” (Edinger 6) This difference between the Melville\'s and Gansevoorts was
the beginning of the trouble for the Melville family. Herman\'s mother tried to
work her way up the social ladder by moving into bigger and better homes. While
borrowing money from the bank, her husband was spending more than he was earning.
“It is my conclusion that Maria Melville never committed herself emotionally to
her husband, but remained primarily attached to the well off Gansevoort family.”
(Humford 23) Allan Melville was also attached financially to the Gansevoorts for
support. There is a lot of evidence concerning Melville\'s relation to his
mother Maria Melville. “Apparently the older son Gansevoort who carried the
mother\'s maiden name was distinctly her favorite.” (Edinger 7) This was a sense
of alienation the Herman Melville felt from his mother. This was one of the
first symbolists to the Biblical Ishamel. The following are a few excerpts from
some of Melville\'s works that show evidence of his childhood. A passage from
Melville\'s Redburn shows that Melville was attached to his mother, “The name of
the mother was the centre of all my hearts finest feelings.” (Melville 33) The
following poem that Melville wrote shows his unreciprocated love for his mother.

I made the junior feel his place
Subserve the senior, love him too;
And soothe he does, and that is his saving grace
But me the meek one never can serve,
Hot he, he lacks quality keen
To make the mother through the soon
An envied dame of power a social queen. (Melville 211)

Herman\'s father\'s side originally Scots with connections in the