what do you think?

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Please answer the follow up to the attached essay reply of Moby-Dick.

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For your followup, let me ask you how much you think Melville drew on his own life in creating the character of Ishmael. Keep in mind both the Ishmael of the Bible (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael) and the Ishmael of Moby-Dick.

The biblical Ishmael, of course, was Abraham’s “other” son, the one who was sent away and who, unlike Isaac, was not promised a bright future. The Ishmael of Moby-Dick was a sailor/whaler with a comparatively enlightened attitude (for a 19th-century white guy) toward dark-skinned “savages” like Queequeg, Tashtego, etc.

So, do you think the qualities of the two Ishmaels are rooted in Melville’s own life experiences? How so?


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