Moby-Dick: From a Multi-genre, Multi-Cultural Perspective

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Michael Kouroubetes


Scholars throughout the ages have used Moby-Dick to represent many
different aspects of the cultural battles that were occurring during the
nineteenth century. Often Moby-Dick has been seen as an allegory for
American white culture dealing with the anti-slavery issues that would
inevitably lead to the Civil War. Some scholars argued the white whale
symbolized the inevitability of the monoculture of whiteness to devastate
the nation. However, this article focuses on Melville's use of variant
romance genres to intervene in these previous interpretations and shows
that the novel can be interpreted from a mixed form aspect generating
a text that favors it being viewed from a multi-cultural perspective.
Melville, by combining visionary passages, along with factual passages,
creates a text that seemingly depicts one mono cultural approach, while
actually arguing many cultural perspectives. The article uses scholarly
texts, New Historicism, Queer Theory, and close readings to show that
the type of romance genre it was written in, in of itself, allows one to view
the text via a multi-cultural approach and not a land locked narrative
interpretation to justify a white monoculture view.

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