Paper on Moby Dick 3 - Lindsay Lastinger AP English...

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Lindsay Lastinger AP English Language Coach Allen January 2, 2010 Moby Dick-In Class Man’s Ability to Understand the Meaning of Life Through the characters of Ahab, Ishmael, and Pip, Herman Melville portrays the idea that meaning in life is up for interpretation, as it mostly depends on the attitudes of people towards events in their lives. Antoine de Saint-Exupery writes, “…The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them…” Umberto Eco writes, “…I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth….” In response to these two quotations, Ahab, Ishmael, and Pip each share similar instances in which they attempt to confront the meaning of their individual lives—each offering no definite answer for their question. In chapter 36, Ahab explores what he believes the meaning of his life is. He says to the crew that the meaning of his life revolves around the white whale, as he is ultimately seeking revenge on the menacing creature. Ahab states, “…That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him…” Ahab’s words clearly represent his obsession with the whale. Ahab also seems to imply
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This document was uploaded on 10/30/2011.

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Paper on Moby Dick 3 - Lindsay Lastinger AP English...

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