Moby Dick and Transcendentalism

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Historians today consider the book Moby-Dick by Herman Melville to be one of the great pieces of literature in American history. However when it was first published, critics thought differently (Cummings, Michael). The style of this novel was written in a very unusual narrative form. As a result of the books early unpopularity, Herman Melville wasn't able to sell many copies (Moby-Dick/Overview). Today it is widely appreciated as a literary classic, and Moby-Dick is read by a large portion of Americans, particularly high school and college students (The Life and Works of Moby Dick). Moby-Dick produced bad reviews when it was first published because the author brought up sensitive topics such as religion, death, and problems in society through symbolism, something that was unheard of in that era

Before writing the Moby-Dick, Herman Melville faced many tough challenges which made his personal views on life very unique. When Melville was just a young boy his father went insane and died (Moby; Cummings). His mother raised their family of eight kids, but they struggled financially and ended up bankrupt. The family's economic status caused Melville to drop out of school and work on a whaling ship. His childhood experiences impacted his personal views in life dramatically.

In Moby-Dick, the narrator presents the good and the bad through detailed observations. Melville portrays the narrator to be friendly towards others, yet he is really an outcast of society and prefers to be alone (Moby). Ishmael, the narrator, likes to escape to the sea whenever he is gloomy and needs a break from society. I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me (Melville 2). This reference alludes to a transcendentalist idea of the value of nature. Most of the story takes place out at sea on the whaling ship called the...
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