• Brian R. Pellar
Part of the American Literature Readings in the 21st Century book series (ALTC)


In the introduction, Pellar gives a brief history of the use of allegory in fiction and then discusses how Melville interprets allegory and the strategy he uses in weaving an allegory in Moby-Dick. Pellar discusses how he will explore Melville’s writings with an emphasis on authorial intent, symbol/diction, and the historical backdrop surrounding Melville, all of which will help to illuminate the hidden allegory in Moby-Dick. Pellar discusses how Melville not only implied a racial dimension to Moby-Dick but also that this was part of a large and powerful antislavery theme that governed the book from the first to last page. This theme contains the dominant allegory of the fugitive slave hunt, where Melville cleverly disguises black whales for black men.


Large Theme Definitive Interpretation Underground Railroad Middle Passage Scarlet Letter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baker, J. Robert, “The Radiant Veil: Persistence and Permutations.” Allegory Revisited. Analecta Husserliana 41 (1994): 303–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Melville, Herman, “Hawthorne and His Mosses.” The Literary World (1850). Reprinted in Moby-Dick. Edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker. New York: W.W. Norton, 1967a. Page numbers are to the 1967 edition.Google Scholar
  3. Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. 1851. Edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967b. Page numbers are to the 1967 edition.Google Scholar
  4. Melville, Herman. Mardi. 1849. New York: Library of America, 1982.Google Scholar
  5. Melville, Herman. Correspondence. Vol. 14, Writings of Herman Melville. Edited by Lynn Horth. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern Univ. Press and the Library, 1993.Google Scholar
  6. Murray, Henry A., “In Nomine Diaboli.” Critical Essays on Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1992.Google Scholar
  7. Thompson, John B. Studies in the Theory of Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian R. Pellar
    • 1
  1. 1.BostonUSA

Personalised recommendations