The Importance Of Homoeroticism In Moby Dick

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Many years after Moby-Dick was first condemned, there are still modern occurrences of controversy. In 1996, a Texas public school district challenged Moby-Dick for violating its community ideals. This difficulty with the novel arose when “parents complained that the book went against family values,” so it was shunned from the classroom for a few months, although it was never actually banned (Jarvis 80). Although these values were never clearly defined, literary critics believe that a “controversial topic in Moby-Dick scholarship has been the novel’s homoeroticism,” or the underlying themes of same-sex desire and symbolic gender roles (Habich and Nowatzki 155). This theory can be observed in the relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg. One morning, Ishmael wakes up to find “Queequeg’s arm thrown over [him] in the most loving and affectionate manner. [One] had almost thought [he] had been his wife” (Melville 62). In this instance, and in many others throughout the novel, their relationship can be interpreted as deeper than the love between friends, as Ishmael’s thoughts almost seem to reveal his feelings toward Queequeg. Although many disagree that this theme is prevalent, it could be a reason why the Texas school district challenged the novel. Despite the fact that this was the only case in which the novel was challenged, many schools often identify Moby-Dick as being far too complex for students to fully appreciate Melville’s tone, themes, and writing style.
The Texas

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