Moby Dick And Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism: A World Not So Far From Our Own Society’s ills are often blamed on the speed of change in the modern world, but Herman Melville would likely look around and think, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Melville was a prominent anti-transcendentalist writer who sought to display the humanness and limits of man through his writings. Melville wrote many stories to display how mankind often falls short of the mark set by oneself or by others. One of his most popular stories, Moby Dick, has a man named Ahab in it. Ahab's flaws as a human reflected some of the flaws in society during Melville’s time. These flaws can still be readily compared to flaws present in today's society. Flaws such as overreaching hubris…show more content…
It is similar in that some parts of modern day society will allow pride or personal reasons to cloud their judgement, leading them to mishandle tasks or bungle entire operations. One such example would be how students can believe themselves to be so well versed in a subject that they simply do not study for a test or other upcoming assessment. In almost every case of such displays the student will realize halfway through the test that they are woefully underprepared, causing their grade to suffer. In Moby Dick Ahab's egregious pride causes him to claim he would strike at the sun if it insulted him (Melville 312). It is not surprising that this kind of pride led him to take personal offense at the natural and undiscerning reaction of an animal, which drove him on and gave him his own reasoning for his monomaniacal quest to kill the white…show more content…
It is common to see a person mistakenly make a choice thinking the chosen path will get them closer to their goals, when in reality their decision will only worsen their situation. This is similar to a student who decides to cheat off of another's work and then suffers the consequences of being caught. Ahab's choices have much the same effect as being caught looking over your neighbor's shoulder. Ahab puts his whaling boat in the water, regardless of the fact that "Numbers of sharks, seemingly rising from out the dark waters beneath the hull, maliciously snapped at the blades of the oars... and in this way accompanied the boat with their bites"(Melville 1031). Putting even a speedy rowboat into shark infested waters is probably one of the worst decisions that a whaling captain could make regarding his and the crew's safety. Ahab makes a series of other decisions, blind to the fact that they contribute to the ultimate demise of himself and of his

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