Article Title

Tale of the Whale


In his critique of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, A.N. Deacon accurately captures one of the main tenets if not the central theme of the book; however, he also makes several claims about the novel that do not seem to fit with the evidence seen in the actual story. For example, Deacon holds that Melville is attempting to show that the power and attributes of Moby Dick are the source, symbolically, of truth and meaning. However, this is not the impression we get when we look closely at the work itself and note Melville’s treatment of the subject. Furthermore, Deacon posits that the person of Ahab is incoherent as his outward, wild actions do not line up with the eloquent and forceful man Melville portrays through his inward character. This claim, however, ignores not only evidence from the novel but some tenets of common sense and real-life experience as well. Deacon does, however, accurately capture the central meaning and chief analogy of the book in his evaluation of Melville’s portrayal of Ahab in utter defiance and rebellion toward a Calvinistic God, or at least of the image of such a god he has projected upon the white whale. There is abundant evidence to support this argument throughout the work. Thus, though Deacon does miss the mark on some of his claims, he succeeds in pinning down the heart and soul of Melville’s classic work.