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Moby Dick and the Demands of a Strong Faith

            The goal of any religion is to develop the inner self, an idea which, prior to the Romantic Era, would have been considered selfish. Herman Melville helped materialize positive connotations of religious isolationism in the mid 1800's. In his epic novel Moby-Dick, the pages are woven with the theme of religious isolation. Captain Ahab is constantly isolated, whether of his own volition, locked up in his room aboard the Pequod, or because his faith isolates him from his family. As the truest believer, Father Mapple, no matter how popular of a whale man he is, isolates himself whenever he communicates with God, proving that the only way to communicate with God is through isolation. Queequeg's Ramadan is a prime example of how religion demands complete separation from the real world. The only way to be true to a religion is to isolate oneself from the community, which Starbuck fails to do, proving he is a weak character. Religion, and a strong faith in religion, demands isolation from any kind of community. .
             The simple act of sailing out to hunt whales – an activity that is a way of life, a religion – is a strong example of isolationism. Setting sail at sea is a very lonely act. The crew must work together to survive, which is why so little of their personal lives matter. One's religion does not matter on the ship as the entire crew must be as a single mass, according to Captain Bildad (75). As the ship is so far away from external help, only occasionally meeting other ships in rare gams, the only possible help is internal. The entire crew works together, living with a specific manner. The journey of the Pequod is to hunt whales, which is portrayed as a religion. Ahab, the Captain of The Pequod, is essentially a pope, commanding the crew to partake in the ritual oath of drinking from the same pewter (141). Ahab's officers, Starbuck, Flask, and Stubb, act as priests, telling the crewmembers what to do in the hunt itself.

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