Moby Dick: the Brit

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Mark Mureithi
AP English
Mr. Munson
Moby Dick Essay: Chapter 58
It is in human nature to hold in contempt and fear things unknown to them, on the other hand many people hold the pursuit of knowledge as the one true path to fulfillment in life. The dangers of the pursuit of knowledge are an underlying topic in Ishmael's discussion of brit. Ishmael describes the sea as enigmatic and immensely more dangerous than the land; in doing so reveals how attempting to study the unknown in the pursuit of knowledge is far more dangerous than remaining ignorant. In Ishmael's discussion about brit he quickly drifts off the subject of the actual brit and begins to make comparisons between the land and the sea. He states that even "though some old naturalists have maintained that all creatures if the land are of kind in the sea"(Melville 272), he has yet to see any creatures of the sea that have the same charm and kindness as domesticated pets. He reveals the inherent lack of kindness or hospitability in oceanic creatures by making this statement. He goes on to say that,"however baby man may brag if his science and skill, and however much in a fluttering future that science and skill may augment; yet forever and ever to the crack of dawn, the sea will continue to insult and murder him... man has lost that sense of the awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it."(Melville 273). This passage illustrates the core of what Ishmael is trying to describe in his argument. It reveals the horror and indomitable terror of the sea, which according to Ishmael people seem to have forgotten about and take for granted. He also belittles human's in the passage calling them "baby man" showing how powerless he believes people are compared to the sea and how no matter how much people advance they cannot compare to the sea's power. He goes on to expand on this idea stating the many ways in which the ocean's horrors hold supremacy over all others such as the sea's lack of mercy and...
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