A Reflection
On Melville\'s

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