Moby-Dick Discussion questions Chapter 1 “Loomings”: What are the several meanings of “loomings”

  • What are the several meanings of “loomings”? In what ways do all of these meanings seem appropriate?
  • What  does Melville tell us about the narrator by naming him “Ishmael”? What things might this name foreshadow?
  • Why does Ishmael go to sea? What is he trying to find?
  • What common human instinct does Ishmael notice in this chapter? Why does Melville point it out?
  • What reasons does Ishmael give for going to sea as a common sailor?
  • Why does Ishmael choose to take a whaling voyage in particular?
  • The chapter ends with a metaphor and a simile describing Moby Dick. What are the meanings of those figures of speech? In other words, what do they suggest about the whale?
Asked on 02.06.2017 in English Literature.
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