MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Michael A. Cody, John D. Morefield
Although Ishmael does not appear to be a main character in Moby Dick, his narration is integral to the text. Only through telling the story is Ishmael able to give himself a concrete identity, which is reflected not only through himself, but through the thoughts, speeches, and actions of the other characters, specifically Ahab and the shipmates. Ishmael represents the fragmented Romantic of nineteenth century American society. He is bound by a traditional patriarchal world where he must break away from the father to establish his own identity. He has lost his connection to nature, the primal source of his beginningsùthe womb of the mother. Through his hermetic voyage into nature and back to the unconscious, he is able to reconnect to his origins. No longer is he the alienated wanderer, but recreated as the artist, able to create his own myth and identity.
Thesis - Open Access
Pepper, Allison M., "Ishmael: The Dissolution of a Romantic and the Emergence of a Poet." (2002). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 690. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/690
Copyright by the authors.