Jordan, Joseph; Stuart, Christopher
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
This thesis explores the major religious themes of repentance, redemption, and expiation in Moby-Dick. While critics have examined some of these themes in isolation, my thesis will demonstrate how Melville takes these Christian doctrines and inverts them in order to display a shift from traditional religious practice to a genuine faith for those outside of God's covenant people. Using Father Mapple's sermon on Jonah as a paradigm through which to see the other religious inversions, I will explore how Ishmael repents of a false view of immorality, finds redemption through an immoral union, and follows a wicked captain who offers the hope of expiating spiritual guilt. When seen together, these inverted religious themes help us understand the cohesive nature of Melville's religious allusions in Moby-Dick, and also explains how Melville can express in a letter: "I have written a wicked book and feel spotless as the lamb."
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Melville, Herman, 1819-1891 -- Moby Dick; Melville, Herman, 1819-1891 -- Criticism and interpretation
English Language and Literature
iv, 82 leaves
Dragoo, Will Marler, "“I must turn idolator”: religious inversion and the quest for genuine faith in Moby-Dick" (2017). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.