Homework Help

How does Moby Dick reflect real life?

user profile pic

user2432060 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM via web

dislike 1 like

How does Moby Dick reflect real life?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The greatest attempts at realism and the expression of "the real" in the novel relate to whaling.

A good portion of Melville's long book is dedicated to documenting life on a whaling ship, exploring this commercial enterprise from the crew (and the jobs of each crew member) to the modes of storage to types of whales to the uses of different substances harvested from the whales.

Many chapters deal with these details without moving the narrative forward making them "documentary" material. 

On a more thematic level, the novel reflects real life in its depiction of friendship (and the importance of friendship), showing how Ishmael and Quequeg help one another in various ways as a result of their friendship. 


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes