Suggested Essay Topics
1. Prove that Ishmael is an analytical, philosophical thinker by examining his reasons for going to sea. Give special attention to the reason he gives as his primary motive.
2. Discuss the biblical and classical allusions employed in Chapter I. Thoroughly explain each allusion and discuss its thematic implications.
Chapters II – IV
1. Explain how Melville uses the doubling technique in characterization. How are Ishmael and Queequeg different? How are they brought together? How does Queequeg’s appearance compare to his behavior?
2. Describe the setting of this section and tell how it contrasts with tone. Give specific details of the streets, the inn, the bar, and the bedroom. What tone does Melville use in this section? How does he achieve that tone?
Chapters V – IX
1. Compare Ishmael’s morbid thoughts upon entering the chapel to his more positive thoughts about death.
2. Discuss the theme of isolation as it relates to Father Mapple, Jonah, and Ishmael.
Chapters X – XV
1. Explain the analogy of the wheelbarrow and the punch. What point was Queequeg illustrating? What proof do we have that Ishmael has learned this lesson already?
2. List four adjectives that describe Queequeg. Support your choices by explaining what he says and does.
Chapters XVI –...
(The entire section is 1862 words.)
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