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< Back to question Is Moby-Dick worth reading? Show more Show less

"Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale" is is often touted as one of the greatest novels of all time, or at the very least, one of the greatest American novels. "Moby-Dick" is thought to be both revolutionary in its scale and scope, while also being a celebration of literature's past. At the same time, the novel finds critics in its verbose and seemingly pointless meanderings on whales and whaling. Is "Moby-Dick" truly worth reading?

No, Moby-Dick is not worth reading Show more Show less

"Moby-Dick" is pompous, boring, and often incomprehensible to the average reader.
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Moby-Dick is incredibly and often unnecessarily verbose and puzzling

The actual text of this novel is incredibly difficult to read, much less understand. In addition to this, the book is rather long and the topic often boring. Many readers don't care for such specific whaling knowledge nor have the patience to read through babbling and complicated passages on the subject.
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Proponents


The Argument

"Moby-Dick" is difficult for the average reader to read, much less understand. Sentences are long-winded and filled with bizarre and esoteric language. References range from the Bible to Cicero to Shakespeare and everything in between. It is no wonder that the main criticism of "Moby-Dick" is its unreadability. "Moby-Dick" is also a century and a half old. The novel and its language reflect that in almost every way with highfalutin prose and often ungraspable classical references. In addition to being just plain difficult to read, the novel tests the limits of people's patience in many ways. With a total of one hundred thirty-five chapters and over six hundred pages, there is no doubt that "Moby-Dick" is a lengthy book. Many of the chapters do not pertain to the plot in any discernible way; instead, many describe the whaling industry or various obscure facts about whales. These chapters slow down the plot so much that it turns the reader off and causes many to stop reading. With pompous prose and an unnecessarily slow story, many readers may find this novel uninteresting and esoteric. Such hurdles ultimately make reading "Moby-Dick" not worth the time.

Counter arguments

There is no doubt that this is a difficult book to read, but the incredibly long work is often thought to match/represent the arduous and onerous whaling voyage undertaken in the novel. The whaling chapters are not merely filler or encyclopedia material. Each of these chapters serves a specific purpose, whether it be providing context to whaling or using whaling as an elaborate conceit for metaphysical concepts.

Premises

Rejecting the premises


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    This page was last edited on Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 16:09 UTC

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