Man as Whale

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


In this chapter, Pellar discusses how Melville transforms the hunting ground for fugitive slaves in the Union to the hunting grounds for black whales around the world. Pellar explores how Melville starts off in Moby-Dick with subtle comparisons of whales to men, and then in later chapters, he directly compares black whales with black men and slaves, with the intent to give the politically sensitized reader of 1851 a deeper insight into his allegory. Pellar also explores how Melville describes black whales congregating like “nations” or “leagues” out of protection. As symbols of fugitive slaves, the whales needed to do this to protect themselves from the slave traders/hunters of America and the world.


Sperm Whale Slave Trade Hunting Pressure Hunting Ground Black Skin 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

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