Point of View
Melville’s earlier novels are mainly first-person accounts of romanticized sailing voyages presented as actual experience. When, after the introductory Etymology and Extracts, he opens Moby-Dick with the words “Call me Ishmael,” it is as if he is giving notice that the narrative voice in this novel is to be more obviously fictional. There are periods, particularly in the first quarter of the book, when Ishmael is an active character, telling the story as an involved first-person narrator. But often during the middle section of the...
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