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What proof does Ishmael offer that others feel the same as he does about the sea?Moby Dick

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ericagreen | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM via web

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What proof does Ishmael offer that others feel the same as he does about the sea?

Moby Dick

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mrsbundy | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 24, 2011 at 4:27 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 1 of Moby Dick, the narrator, Ishmael, tells us how much he loves the sea and confesses that whenever he is depressed (has the "blues"), he goes to the sea and is instantly uplifted.  He argues that others feel this way too by providing several examples of ways other people are uplifted by the sea.  He says that on any given Sunday afternoon, you could go anywhere in Manhattan and find "thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries."  The implication is that those thousands of men are there by the ocean because they love it and it uplifts their souls.

Ishmael feels that every human hamlet, town, and city has been constructed with a love of the water in mind.  Melville writes, in the country "Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream.  There is magic in it."

In Chapter 1, Melville continues by arguing that artists and their artwork offer further proof of humankind's universal love of water.  In most landscape paintings, Ishmael says, you will find images of water.  Without these aqueous elements, these paintings would be uninspiring and uninteresting.  People only like landscapes with water.

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