In Search of Moby Dick Questions and Answers
by Tim Severin

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What's the tone in the book In Search of Moby Dick?

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The tone of Tim Severin's nonfiction book is fast-paced as the writer darts across the globe in an attempt to retrace Ahab's fictional life. He also researches the claims made in Melville's novel by going to various locales in the South Pacific and finding that many of the depictions in the novel are either fabricated or second-hand accounts. This gives the book a journalistic tone and gives the readers a kind of split screen in which the fictional work and reality are viewed side by side.

Another dominant tone in Severin's book is one of curiosity. Although the writer is appalled by the ancient traditions of marine hunters, he is equally curious about their methods and personalities. This curiosity is the driving force behind his travels and research across the world. In a sense, his search for truths, if any, in the novel is similar to Ahab's obsessive search for the mythical white sperm whale.

This gives Severin's nonfiction book a fictional tone in which Severin himself is inserted into the narrative by trying to retrace the fictional life and times of Ahab. In the end, just like Ahab, Severin is left with a feeling of mixed emotions and thoughts about his own pursuits.

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