Did you ever have to read Moby Dick for a class?

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zeldapsychology
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12 Jan 2011, 9:40 pm

I'm only a few pages in and I'm left confused scratching my head. This isn't written in proper language or english I guess since it sounds so confusing and not correct at all. I thought as a Psychology major look at the behavior of the characters but I'm lost. Hopefully an analysis isn't what the teacher wants (I'll find out Tuesday) perhaps wait until then I guess. I find it hard to read. I've never understood older books I gave up on Lord of the Rings and yet loved the films. Plus Moby Dick seems daunting at 135 chapters!! ! So for those who read Moby Dick for a class what did your teacher have you write about it? I'll find out Tuesday before getting all worried over it. :-)



buryuntime
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12 Jan 2011, 10:45 pm

I read it for my own enjoyment and recently bought a copy to reread of my own. What exactly are you confused about? The language is beautiful, I thought, and the first part of the book is very comical before he sets to sea.

If you are having trouble understanding something make it a habit to try to summarize. Every few paragraphs see if you know what is happening. If you don't, reread it. If you still don't you should be able to tell by context.



zeldapsychology
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13 Jan 2011, 8:22 am

Thanks. He goes into tons of detail but I understand the basic premise. I'm only a few pages in and it says he chooses to be a sailor and get paid not a cook/captain and he loves the sea it keeps him from Pistol and ball which I assume would be killing yourself. So the sea keeps you happy and from wanting to commit suicide and if it wasn't for that you would have killed yourself. (If I'm understanding "Pistol and Ball.") correctly.



arielhawksquill
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13 Jan 2011, 11:11 am

There are several film adaptations of Moby Dick that might help you get the gist of it. I like the one with Patrick Stewart as Ahab. ;)



Orwell
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13 Jan 2011, 12:25 pm

I read it senior year of high school. Good book. We skipped chapter 32, and I recommend you do the same. It adds nothing of importance, and many people find it very daunting.

zeldapsychology wrote:
Thanks. He goes into tons of detail but I understand the basic premise. I'm only a few pages in and it says he chooses to be a sailor and get paid not a cook/captain and he loves the sea it keeps him from Pistol and ball which I assume would be killing yourself. So the sea keeps you happy and from wanting to commit suicide and if it wasn't for that you would have killed yourself. (If I'm understanding "Pistol and Ball.") correctly.

That first paragraph is one of the best examples of English writing in all of American literature. Yes, you are correct that "pistol and ball" refers to suicide. If you got the reference to Cato throwing himself upon his sword in the next sentence, then that context should make it clear.

Although it's not so much that the sea keeps you happy; although there is a romantic view of the sea. It's more that going out to sea is one way of escpaing and/or avoiding life's troubles. The idea of escape is a prevalent theme in a lot of American culture- our ancestors came here to escape their troubles in the Old World, later people journeyed West to escape their troubles in the East, etc.


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Philologos
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15 Jan 2011, 9:07 pm

Moby Dick is another example of lit that is not for all minds. Some people swear by it. Personally I could never get into it. Ulysses I hated - but it was accessible. Moby Dick I did not mind, but it was totally inaccessible.



Dantac
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15 Jan 2011, 9:56 pm

I read it for my english composition II class some years ago. I was familiar with the story from reading about the book (but not THE book) until that class.

The story is great. The characters deep and interesting.

The writing style is painful to read. Its almost as if someone had given Tolkien a hit of meth and squeezed his testicles while he wrote. ><

I DO liked though, that the book was sort of half narrative of real life whaling and half made up story.

If this is for a psychology class then start taking notes on the personality traits of characters themselves and the whale AND the ship. The ship is another character so many people miss. Each major character has if I remember right one obsession and one fatal flaw.



Ashmur16
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22 Apr 2011, 12:12 pm

I am reading it in my English 11 class right now, we are almost finished but I could never get in to it. The writing got confusing at times for me too, the beginning was okay to read but when Ismael set sail I couldn't follow it anymore. Good luck with reading the book. Hope you have better luck then I did.



Philologos
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24 Apr 2011, 7:47 pm

Tried to. Did I finish it? It is totally passed out of my mind. Some heads fit sometings more than others. Moby Dick was not for me. Some love it. Go figure.