As Deborah Stanley, editor of "Novels for Students" indicates, Herman Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819. He went to work as a bank clerk to help support his family at the age of thirteen after his father's death. Gansevoort, his older brother, was bankrupt, and Melville had to rely on wealthy relatives for financial assistance. .
Once early adventure drew his interest for the sea, he set sail aboard a whaling vessel. In the South Pacific, he left his ship to live with a native tribe. Melville escaped the island by finding passage on a whaling ship from Australia. As he came back to America, he immediately began writing about his adventures. Melville's first novel, Typee, described his adventure and captivity in the South Seas as well as his second novel, Como. .
During this time, Herman met his wife Elizabeth and decided to marry her. Moby Dick, written in 1851, is now admired as a masterpiece of American literature and considered one of the greatest novels of all time. He wrote just three more novels after that and then retired from literary life (191).
Moby Dick Synopsis.
Melville's novel Moby Dick tells us a strange journey of an ordinary seaman named Ishmael, who decided to go on a whaling voyage in Massachusetts during the 1840s. Ishmael is a thoughtful and gloomy young man who lived in New Bedford, a whaling town where he sees memorial plaques to lost sailors and the terrors of the whale. Ishmael starts his journey on the Pequod, a whaling vessel run by the notorious Captain Ahab. Soon afterward, the crew found out that Ahab's real purpose was to take revenge on the white whale, Moby Dick, which bit off his leg on the previous voyage. Ahab finally spots the white whale and fights for three days but fails to kill him. As the ship was destroyed by the Moby Dick, it sinks. All members of the crew except Ishmael go down with the ship, and he was saved by another whaling ship at the end of the story (192-93).