The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever


"But not only did each of these famous whales enjoy great individual celebrity- nay, you may call it an oceanwide renown; not only was he famous in life and now is immortal in forecastle stories after death, but he was admitted into all the rights, privileges, and distinctions of a name; had as much a name indeed as Cambyses or Caesar."

Musing: The idea of naming is something worth studying in Moby Dick. First, Ishmael. The connotation of that name, biblically speaking, is that of an orphan, or a social outcast, or an exile. When Ishmael is rescued, it is by a ship called The Rachel. Rachel lost her sons, who were exiled, and Melville's Rachel finds a son. The list of symbolic names goes on and on. But the bigger point is the strength of a name. Naming the white whale gives it importance, a sense of self, and an identity.

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