Moby-Dick Topics for Discussion

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The name of Ishmael is one often associated with orphans and outcasts. Why is it significant that Melville chooses this name for his main character and narrator?

Discuss the idea of fate. Was it Ishmael's fate to be aboard the Pequod or was his choice one of free will?

Throughout his novel, Melville uses numerous references to Biblical events and people such as the story of Jonah and the whale. What is the significance of these references?

Compare and contrast Ishmael and QueeQueg's cultures and their opinions of one another. For instance, while Ishmael sees QueeQueg as a cannibal and a savage, he is in reality a member of his country's royal family.

Consider the idea of standards. For instance, Captain Peleg insists QueeQueg be a Christian and show his papers until Peleg sees QueeQueg's skill with the harpoon. Is this "double standard" an accepted practice in...

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This section contains 395 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Moby-Dick Study Guide
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.