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.



Read all of Horrton Hears a Heart by clicking the above picture.








Quoth the Raven, "Eat My Shorts!"

See The Simpsons versions by clicking the picture below.





In class we watched A&E's Biography. You can get the notes here:
Biography Notes


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:

  • What does the narrator say he can hear at the beginning of the story?
  • What about the old man bothers the narrator?
  • For seven nights he creeps into the room to murder the old man. Why doesn't he?
  • Once the old man hears him, how long does he wait before moving again?
  • How does he kill the old man?
  • How does he hide the body?
  • How does he make sure there is no blood evidence?
  • What does he hear that makes him confess?


"The Raven"






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





Yes, they actually made a cartoon where your friendly Moby Dick helped two boys save the world and fight bad guys! You can watch an episode here (it'll only take you about 6 minutes):
You Tube - Moby Dick


Moby Dick

The great white whale beholds the sail
That means to work him woe,
And plumes the breeze of southern seas
Where Bedford whalers go.

The lookouts shout, the crew turns out,
The longboats pull away;
With rope and lance and half a chance
They'll kill the beast this day.

The captain's eye regards the sky:
The gulls now tell the tale–
Their raucous cries the calm belies
Where sounds the great white whale.

He rises now and at the bow
Harpoons gleam sharp and long;
Then there's the throw! and off they go–
The rope sings out its song.

The salt spray flies and stings the eyes;
In headlong buck and leap
The whaleboats dance and dip and prance
Like sprites across the deep.

Then all is still and with a thrill
The crews gasp at his rise:
Leviathan now turns on man
His black and baleful eyes.

They watch in awe his toothy maw
Gape terrible and wide;
As if in dreams the sailors' screams
The only sound provide.

He sounds again and flukes descend
To crush the men and boats
Upon the swell the splinters tell
Where one lone seaman floats.

And down below the bilge planks show
The whale has come to call:
A crash! The din! The water in!
He means to kill them all.

The ship sinks fast until at last
The masts slip out of sight,
And on the waves but one man raves
Upon his float that night.

The story's old and often told,
But mark this hoary tale–
And learn the rule: that man's a fool
Who seeks his own white whale.

The wise man learns, where hatred burns
But naught of good can come;
Obsession's cost is ever lost
When God totes up the sum.

© 2007 Jeffrey Hull

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.

Elijah – the crazy man who gives the prophecy of the Pequod

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

Starbuck - 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.
"My miserable office is but to obey thee."

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.

Harpooners – all of them are non-Christians and each one fo them serves a particular mate.

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

Fedallah – 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.
He is symbolic of the devil.

Other characters
Pip (Pippin) – the African-American boy who goes around playing the tambourine.

He is a symbol of innocence.

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:

  • the crew has low morale
  • it is foggy
  • they lose Pip (innocence)
  • Ahab loses his leg
  • When they get Pip, he is crazy

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.



Nathaniel Hawthorne

We won't have him on this test. I'm just putting a place marker for next semester.

Test review:






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.