Much as I don’t care for the plot of the book, I will admit that as a piece of literature, Moby Dick is one of the best symbolic works I’ve read. One of the ways I know if a story has good symbolism is if I can imagine visual motifs to illustrate them. If a book’s plot can be conveyed or at least alluded to on a T-shirt, for example, probably has at least one major symbol.
Maybe it’s just a matter of the colors—a white sperm whale on a dark background—that makes for dynamic visuals. Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for animal art in general. Maybe it’s simply that I like sperm whales, and any time I try to anthropomorphize Moby-Dick into an epitome of the world’s evil like Captain Ahab does, the unfortunate outcome is not very profound: just the part of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where a whale materializes in midair over an alien planet and has to come to grips with its existence on the way down to the ground. Whatever the reason, part of me wishes that I did love the book, so that I could buy, make, or wear these sorts of artistic renditions of the novel. Since I am more of a begrudging admirer, forced to admit the aesthetic value of Herman Melville’s writing Style, I’ll just leave these links and images here for others with better Taste to enjoy:
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