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Moby Dick Summary

How do you write a summary for a research paper on Moby Dick? Our expert writers suggest like this:

Herman Melville’s novel, Moby-Dick, tells the tragic story of a failed attempt at revenge. The story is narrated by Ishmael, an adventurous young man who wants to travel with a whaling ship. Moby Dick SummaryAfter traveling to New Bedford, Massachusetts, Ishmael befriends Queequeq, a harpooner, and the two decide to sign aboard the Pequod, a whaling vessel. Ishmael meets the rest of the crew, including first mate Starbuck, second mate Stubb and Flask. The enigmatic ship’s captain, Ahab, does not appear until after the ship has left the docks. Then, Ishmael learns that Ahab is missing a leg, wearing instead a prosthetic made from the jawbone of a whale.

As Ishmael serves on the ship, he observes the frequent conflict between Starbuck and Ahab. Starbuck viewed whaling as a purely economic venture whereas Ahab grows increasingly consumed with killing Moby Dick, the whale that crippled him during a previous ship. Ahab also surprises his crew by revealing that he has brought aboard another crew, including the harpooner Fedallah, whose purpose is to help kill Moby-Dick. Fedallah prophesizes the death of Ahab but the elements of the prophecy cause Ahab to believe he will die on land, not at sea.

The Pequod encounters other whaling ships while at sea, such as the Samuel Enderby, the Rachel and the Delight, while successfully catching and processing whales. At each encounter, Ahab’s madness and obsession grow more obvious. The novel concludes with a final encounter with Moby-Dick. Captain Ahab dies in a manner that fulfills Fedallah’s prophecy. Only Ishmael survives to tell the tale.

Other great topics for a Moby Dick research paper are the following:

Below is an excellent outline to follow for writing a summary of Moby Dick:

  1. Introduction
  2. Plot
    1. Ishmael
    2. Pequod
    3. Ahab’s Obsession
  3. Whaling
    1. Whales
      1. Largest Creatures
      2. Relation to humans
    2. Golden Age of Whaling
      1. 1835
      2. Eastern Seaboard
    3. Melville and Whaling
      1. New Bedford
      2. World renown
  4. Moby Dick and Whaling
    1. Characters
      1. Harpooners
        1. Queequeg
        2. Daggoo
        3. Tashtego
    2. Moby Dick
      1. Temperamental
      2. Vicious
    3. Bringing in the Kill
    4. “Cutting in”
    5. Oil
  5. Mocha Dick
    1. 1810
    2. Attack and Kill
  6. Conclusion


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