Critical Analysis of Herman Melville’s ..

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A Critical Analysis of Herman Melville's Moby Dick | Kibin

Paglia focuses her argument on sexual protest, or the dehumanizing of women. The most significant points int eh essay include the way in which Melville describes Moby Dick. He does not want to portray his whale as the female grossness of matter, as he does the squid, but instead wants to admire its vast size. By elevating the masculine principle, Melville is limiting female power. Whenever Melville gives the whale a feminine trait, he immediately cancels it by a masculine afterthought, such as violence or rape. Paglia goes on to talk about male bonding between Queequeg and Ishmael. Paglia argues that masculinity struggles for dominance thorugout the story of Moby-Dick. Women only really exist in Moby Dick through "bawdy banter." I have a hard time believing/agreeing with Paglia's Argument. It seems that it is hard to dehumanize women when they don't exist in a particular story.

A Critical Analysis of Herman Melville's Moby Dick PAGES 10

Similarly in , Melville connects his critique of militarismand the dehumanization it generates with a critique of Western culture'spolarization of masculine and feminine. The feminine imagery Melville usesto describe Billy suggests that he represents what Vere later calls the"feminine in man," instructing his drumhead court that "shemust be ruled out" of their deliberations. It also suggests that oneof the roots of Claggart's and Vere's homosexual attraction to Billy ishis embodiment of the "feminine in man" that they have repressedin themselves and must continue to repress by killing Billy. Here again,Margaret Fuller's analysis of the ways in which patriarchy victimizes menas well as women is relevant.

Parkes, HenryBamford.

For challenges to the stereotype of Melville as a writer indifferentor hostile to women, see Kristin Herzog's chapter on Melville in (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983), as well asthe essays in the February 1986 issue of .

Herman Melville: A Collection of Critical …

Posts about Herman Melville written by Ezekiel Fry

Each story, of course, centers around a different theme. In teaching"Bartleby" and "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarusof Maids," I emphasize Melville's critique of capitalism and the alienationit produces. "The Communist Manifesto" and Marx's essays "EstrangedLabor," "The Meaning of Human Requirements," and "ThePower of Money in Bourgeois Society," from are extraordinarily relevant to these two storiesand illuminate them in startling ways. However, I find it preferable tolet Marx indirectly inform the approach one takes to the stories, ratherthan to get sidetracked into a discussion of Marx. A secondary theme in"Bartleby" is the Christian ethic of Matthew 25, which Melvillecounterpoises against the capitalist ethic of Wall Street (see Bibliographyfor useful articles on this subject).


A selective list of online literary criticism for the nineteenth-century American novelist and story writer Herman Melville, favoring signed articles and peer-reviewed sources

Moby Dick; Or the Whale, by Herman Melville

invites comparison with Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience,which casts an ironic light on the arguments Vere uses to have Billy sentencedto hanging. If teachers decide to group Billy Budd with the writings onslavery, rather than with those on industrialism and the oppression ofwomen, they can underscore the parallels Melville suggests between thecondition of sailors and that of slaves (a theme he develops at great lengthin ). The Black Handsome Sailor who appears in the openingpages of and incarnates the ideal of the Handsome Sailormore perfectly than Billy also provides a strong, positive counter-imageof blacks, offsetting the seemingly negative stereotypes presented in "BenitoCereno." Formally as well, the two stories have much in common andinvite comparison with "Slavery's Pleasant Homes."