Human Influence In Moby Dick

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Treacherous waves crash with a deafening bang against the sides of the solitary whaler in the midst of a cyclone. The sea spray blinds sailors temporarily as they hasten to continue their tasks in the storm. The wooden island serves as the only dot of civilization for hundreds of miles in the vast Pacific Ocean. The abyss below the decks is home to countless terrifying beasts and killers, but also serves as the heart of nature in Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick. The ocean is completely free of human influence and domestication, becoming a refuge for the protagonist Ishmael, in his case, to escape from the superficial and self-serving society that encompassed America in the mid-nineteenth century. Nathaniel Hawthorne gives a simpler, but still …show more content…

After the birth of her daughter Pearl, Hester emerged from the town prison with a baby in her arms, and an embroidered "A" on her breast, standing for "adulteress." The striving for perfection and denial of sin characteristic of the Puritan people was embodied into the symbols of the scaffold and the letter, which were created by the administrators of the settlement to punish the transgressor and remind the townspeople of the consequences of straying from the Puritanic vision of human perfection. Beyond subjecting law breakers to humiliation on the scaffold, a horrifying "instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp" was employed to inflict pain and send a clear message to all witnesses: do not ever break the laws (Hawthorne 33). The fear of punishment drove the citizens apart in their interactions, creating a societal norm of harsh relations and suspicion between neighbors that facilitated the entire settlement to turn against Hester so quickly. Without any knowledge of her interactions, women in the town square were disappointed at the lenient treatment of Hester, calling for branding "the flesh on her forehead," not out of hatred for her actions, but fear of their own husbands & daughters going astray (Hawthorne 31). …show more content…

The writings of English philosopher John Locke described a "state of nature" that was adopted by the Founding Fathers in their Declaration of Independence, in which the government served as a social contract between the people to protect their individual property rights. The basis of government in individual property created a harmful mindset that damaged interpersonal relationships and kinship between the people in their quest for commercial success. Herman Melville attempted to re-educate the American people on the aspects of nature that he saw fit as conducive to a cohesive America, in which all people could rely on each other, and their government. Ishmael' journey to sea was a quest for the permeating questions in the deepest reaches of his mind: where can I find the good in

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