In this chapter, Pellar discusses how Melville employed directional indicators of north, middle, and south that were clearly indicative of the current political climate that surrounded the writing of Moby-Dick. Chief among these, the term “middle” was used symbolically to indicate the divisive state of the country, the infamous middle passage of the slave trade, as well as the literal Mason-Dixon line that physically and culturally/politically separated the free-soil states in the North from the slave states in the South. Pellar also discusses the political symbolism of the fiery “season-on-the-line” (the equator), which divides the North from the South and which Melville chose the Pequod as Ship of State to sink on at the novel’s end.
KeywordsSlave Trade Black Letter Gold Coin Slave State Middle Passage
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