A Reflection On Herman Melville\'s Accomplishments

Brad Jones

Ms Carman Period 6 American Literature

"As an author Melville both courted failure and scorned success."(pg.
613, A Companion to Melville Studies). How many famous legends in time have
existed to know no fame. How many remarkable artist have lived and died never
receiving due credit for there work. Herman Melville is clearly an artist of
words. Herman Melville is certainly a prodigy when it comes to writing. Herman
Melville never received hardly any credit for any of his works. Melville wrote
such novels as Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd. Melville wrote about things that he
knew about. He wrote about his own experiences. The one thing that he loved,
and knew the most about was whaling.

Herman Melville was born in 1819, the son of Allan and Maria Melville.
He was one of a Family of eight children - four boys and four girls - who was
raised comfortably in a nice neighborhood in New York City. Herman Melville
came from a famous blood line out of Albany, NY. Melville\'s grandfather, General
Peter Gansevoort, was a hero. Even though the General died six years before
Melville was born, Melville still put him in his book, Pierre.

On the outer side of the blood line there was Major Melville. The Major
was a wealthy Boston merchant who was one of the famous "Mohawks" who boarded
the ship of the East India Company that night of 1773, and dumped the cargo in
to the Boston Harbor. Later Major Melville became the Naval Officer of The Port
of Boston, a post given to him by Gorge Washington. It is like the two blood
lines fitted together perfectly to create Herman Melville. Herman had the
strength of the General, and the crazy hart of the Major.

Herman Melville was "hardly more than a boy" when he ran out to sea
after his fathers death. A young Melville sighed up as a boy on the St.
Lawrence to Liverpool and back to New York. Many of the events that show up in
Melville\'s Redburn are actuarial events that happened of his first voyage.
After returning home and finding his mothers family fortune gone, Melville
decided to take a journey over land this time to the Mississippi river to visit
his Uncle Thomas. Through out all of Melville\'s work the image of inland
landscapes, of farms, prairies, rivers, lakes, and forest recur as a
counterpoint to the barren sea. Also in Moby-Dick Melville tells how he was a
"Vagabond" on the Erie Canal, which was the way Melville returned.

Melville wrote that it was not the lakes or forest that sank in as much
as the "oceanic vastness and the swell of the one and in the wide, slow, watery
restlessness,"(pg. Arving), of the prairies. Some even think of the novel,
Pierre, as a "A prairie in print, wanting the flowers and freshness of the
savanah, but all most equally puzzling to find a way through it." (Pg. 1, On
Melville.) About a year latter Melville signed up as foremasthand on the whaler
Acushnet, which set sail on the third of January, 1841, that set sail from New
Bedford. Many events of his voyage directly correspond with those in his
novel, Typee.

Melville set up residence in the Taipi-Vai valley, which he called Typee.
He and a friend, named Toby Green, struck out on one day\'s leave to the
interior of the island. Melville got sick and had to live with a tribe of
savages that he found for a month or so. All this time, Toby had gone to try to
get help but was unsuccessful. After a long month of waiting for Toby, Melville
decided to try to escape, and was successful. Melville illustrated all of these
events that happened in his novel Typee. But "Typee is a work of the
imagination, not sober history, and one constantly crosses in it the invisible
line between "fact" and the life of the fancy and memory."(pg. 61, Arvin)

After Melville\'s escape he sighed up on a ship called Lucy Ann.
Melville still had a bad leg from his experiences with the natives. This
journey was a short one but none the lass eventful. The journey was full of
different changes in command and mutiny. These events on the , Lucy Ann,
Melville put in to a book he named Omoo. This journey ended in Tahiti.

After a while in Tahiti, Melville decided to join the crew of the
Charles and Henry. When the Charles and Henry got to the Hawaiian island of
Maui the Captain Coleman discharged him. The events on