Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: Moby Dick

Well, I've read Moby Dick. It was simultaneously clever, boring, weird, deep, ridiculous, unfocused, and confusing.

Goodreads Synopsis:
In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopaedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is also a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

(I chose Moby Dick for Lois's monthly Classics Challenge, as February's category was "a book I dreaded".)


Looking back, I think recently finishing Les Misérables had given me the false impression that I could both read and enjoy a novel of any length or difficulty within a set time period.

It seems that was wrong.

Now, while Moby Dick suffered from its faults, it can certainly boast some good factors:

1). Herman Melville's Writing

Here, just read this: At length the breathless hunter came so near his seemingly unsuspecting prey, that his entire dazzling hump was distinctly visible, sliding along the sea as if an isolated thing, and continually set in a revolving ring of finest, fleecy greenish foam. 

2). The Symbolism

Melville presented an allegory of one of mankind's most repeated and often subconscious quest. That is, the quest to conquer God. R. C. Sproul writes,

Other scholars have been convinced that the whale is not a symbol of evil but the symbol of God Himself. In this interpretation, Ahab’s pursuit of the whale is not a righteous pursuit of God but natural man’s futile attempt in his hatred of God to destroy the omnipotent deity. I favor this second view. 
3). The Foreshadowing

From early in the narrative to mere pages before the end, Melville allowed varied hints toward the outcome of it all to scare the reader without wholly revealing the ending.

The Bad Elements: 

1). The Tangents

The first 400 pg. were around(if not more) one third digression. Not the best way to engage your readers.

2). The Metaphors

Some were good, but some were definitely a little extravagant. :)

3). The Changing Narration

First, Ishmael narrated in first person, then it shifted to third person and he completely faded from the story, then he reappeared to relate the last paragraph. Weird.

So, if nothing else, I'm glad I read this because it's a classic and unquestionably a challenge, but I didn't really enjoy it, nor do I plan to re-read it anytime soon.

Favorite Character: Queequeeg
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Have any of you read MD, and what did you think??


  1. I have never read Moby Dick. I tagged you for The Get To Know Me Tag. Only if you want to. :)

    1. It's really hard, but a classic nonetheless. :)

      Thank you! I'll post my answers when I get a chance!

  2. Meredith - good job in finishing Moby Dick! Not a book for the fainthearted. Dad

  3. Oh, I want to want to read MD. I feel like I ought to. I really liked In the Heart of the Sea (and not solely because of Chris Hemsworth), and so one of these days, I'll tackle MD. But this is not that day. Good for you for reading it!!!

    1. Ah, I will have to watch that movie someday. It certainly looks intriguing.

      :) Thank you!!


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