Who are they?
Writing in the early 1800s, these writers existed during the Romantic period. While they share many viewpoints of the Romantic authors, they do have one main element that separates them form the others -- they focused on the fact that because of original sin (Adam and Eve (which we all know was Eve's fault)), mankind has a sinful nature. Therefore, when left to ourselves, we will eventually do bad things.
In most of thier writings, the main character is obsessed or racked by guilt. Often they are mad (crazy) or at least borderline mad.
In class we watched A&E's Biography. You
can get the notes here:
We read a few of Poe's stories. Each one is on the test.
"The Tell-Tale Heart"
This story is about a mad man who can't stand this guy's "vulture eye." So, if you don't like the way someone looks, you do what any sane person would do. You kill him.
You can read it here.
Our narrator is crazy and therefore cannot be trusted. Whenever you have a narrator that cannot be trusted, you have an unreliable narrator.
Some questions to know from this story are:
Herman Melville was not very famous and liked in his time, but after World War I, he began to be read again. His story of Moby Dick has long sections of it where he just talks about whaling and shipping. Thankfully, the movie version leaves that out.
The rule - a sperm whale named Moby Dick is bound to raise a flurry of jokes. So, the rule of class is, a joke can only be made once. If you want to keep making up jokes, you need to be original.
Characters in Moby Dick
The great white whale beholds the sail
The lookouts shout, the crew turns out,
The captain's eye regards the sky:
He rises now and at the bow
The salt spray flies and stings the eyes;
Then all is still and with a thrill
They watch in awe his toothy maw
He sounds again and flukes descend
And down below the bilge planks show
The ship sinks fast until at last
The story's old and often told,
The wise man learns, where hatred burns
Ishmael - protagonist He is also the narrator, but there are times when we get story that he is not around for all of the story. He was a school teacher but now wants to see the world. His inexperience makes the other crew members laugh and joke at him.
Captain Ahab - captain of the Pequod. He is obsessed with finding Moby Dick. the whale that ate his leg. He now has a peg leg.
Moby Dick – the big sperm whale that Ahab wants. He is white and monsterous.
The Ship’s Mates
1st Mate – He keeps his head about him and does not think that they
should go after Moby Dick. His concern is the crew and his job to get
whale oil for the ship’s owners. He is torn since he knows what
he feels is right, but he also feels he must obey his captain.
Stubb – 2nd Mate – He is the one with the white beard who is always laughing and careless.
Flask – 3rd Mate – He is the one who is always calling Ishmael “Pup” and has the cigar in his mouth.
Queequeg – son of a cannibal chief. He makes friends with Ishmael early and looks out for him. He is a strange mixture of savage and civilization – serves with Starbuck
Tashtego – the Native American harpooner – serves with Stubb
Daggoo – the African harpooner – serves with Flask
– He is the Asian harpooner
that serves with Ahab. Nobody knew he was on the boat until he emerges
with Ahab. Ahab has him aboard to help him find Moby Dick.
The Carpenter – he just builds stuff.
The Cook – duh, he cooks. Not very well, however.
A few things to note:
The prophecy of the Pequod is, "all will perish save one."
The preacher preaches a sermon about Jonah and the whale (duh!).
The famous first three words are: "Call me Ishmael."
You probably want to know what Ahab offers the one who brings up the whale.
Quegquag is upset because the ship has no captain (they set off without the captain coming out of his cabin). This is an omen of a doomed ship.
Ahab gives a soliloquy (a speech given when a character is alone and revealing their true thoughts). In this soliloquy he reveals that he knows he is damned and he has no joy - not in his family - not in life - not in God. He feels he must get Moby Dick to get his soul back.
The captain that passes the Pequod on the has a harpoon for a hand. He warns Ahab not to pursue the white whale and calls him mad.
When the first guy dies by falling off the mast, Ahab can't read the bible and can't pray. He then turns and dares God to strike him. This emphasises his "damned soul" that we heard in his soliloquy.
The first hunt of Moby Dick we have several bad omens:
More bad omens include Fedallah's dream that Ahab will die fighting Moby Dick and he (Fedallah) will die right before it.
They use gun powder to blow apart the ice. Remember that stagnant water is an archetype meaning a life gone wrong. Well, the ice here is water not moving, so it takes the same meaning as a life gone wrong.
Pip, having completely lost it, dresses as Ahab and becomes the "Mini Me" of Moby Dick.
The second boat they
Prophecies and curses:
Elijah - "All aboard will perish save one."
Captain Boomer - "You will have a blasphemous end."
The drunk salior who fell off the mast - "May the ocean swallow the lot of you."
Starbuck repeats the prophecy of the Pequod to the captain.
Captain Ahab says that the prophecy is, "Death to Moby Dick!" (He is a little repetitve about this).
Fedallah's dream is that he will die and then Captain Ahab will die while trying to kill Moby Dick.
Captain Ahab makes another prophecy to Fedallah that he will kill Moby Dick and he will survive it.
We won't have him on this test. I'm just putting a place marker for next semester.
Extra Credit - I will put some questions on the test from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat." If you wish to read it, you can find it by clicking here. Any questions that you get right on this story will replace one you wrong somewhere else on the test.