Why We Read Moby Dick

by Defne Caldwell, High School Teacher

你可能读过,也可能没有读过一本书名引人入胜的小书, Why Read Moby Dick?, by Nathaniel Philbrick. In it, 菲尔布里克探讨了赫尔曼·梅尔维尔小说的重要元素, such as the disastrous tale of The Essex, 1820年被抹香鲸击沉的一艘船,它启发了梅尔维尔故事的某些方面(以及罗恩·霍华德的电影). 菲尔布里克的书还包括几篇bst365主题的文章, characters and scenes within the novel, and a wonderful chapter on chowder. 几年前,玛格丽特·阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood)在《bst365老牌网站》(New York Times)上写了一篇专栏文章,内容是她会对希望了解美国的火星人说些什么. Among other things, she tells them to read Moby Dick. Their response, “Holy crap! Does this mean what we think it means?他们把这部小说理解为北美21世纪的隐喻st century role in the oil industry. In October, I will be teaching Moby Dick 到了十年级的《bst365》主课上,所以我也在思考bst365为什么要读书 Moby Dick一个十五六岁的孩子从中得到了多少好处. 


In some ways the novel, a form of literature that followed epic, lyric, and dramatic literature by around 2,500 years, is a more contemporary art form. In the adolescent’s appreciation for what is real, what is present and now, this form of literature meets them where they are. Moby Dick has within it passages that are decidedly epic, lyric and dramatic, 以这种方式,它囊括了之前所有的文学作品, 但它的方式是革命性的,新颖的. 这也是正在采摘的青少年的经历, 选择和重组他们继承的东西,使他们成为自己的人. The theme of independence runs through Melville’s novel, 对于那些离家和学校都很近,注意到独立时刻的鲜明对比的学生来说,这一点很有说服力. 这个年轻人想要远离家乡旅行的愿望与以实玛利想要逃离陆地上的沉重经历,去海上旅行的愿望相吻合. 小说也满足了青少年强烈的,令人眼花缭乱的同情和反感浪潮的经历. Moby Dick 它充满了两极,亚哈的自私和骄傲vs. 匹普的无私和耻辱,亚哈的狂热的偏执狂和. Ishmael’s thoughtful open-mindedness, lulls vs. storms, descriptive passages vs. dramatic passages, the list goes on and on. In considering ideas in relation to eachother, 青少年的思想和感情有自由移动和进入平衡. 

梅尔维尔的小说充满了对年轻读者有独特意义的象征. 船上的许多人都认为,谁发现了莫比-迪克,谁就能得到金币. Each view of the coin is in a way true, 然而,真相存在于所有观点的结合之中. 这符合那些对不同观点越来越欣赏的学生, yet an increased interest in truth. 以实玛利研究船上用来织布席子的织布机. Always on the lookout for meaning, 以实玛利沉思着织布机的固定部分代表必然性和命运,而移动的梭子一定是自由意志, 魁魁格那把刺在织布上使它绷紧的剑是偶然的, Ishmael says. 当年轻人开始追求真正的自由时,这是一个值得思考的丰富课题. 人们如何在必然、命运和机会的网络中获得自由? 也许最有趣和最难以捉摸的象征是白鲸:一个无色的空洞体? An uncontrollable urge? 梅尔维尔提到,海洋中存在着“无法把握的生命幽灵”.” Is that it? What is it?! If you remember, becoming aware of the existence of forces one can’t understand or control is the mark of adolescence; it is what filled us with feeling and got us thinking. 

“My experience of teaching Moby Dick 对年轻人来说,学生们的谈话是一次进入未知海洋的旅程.”

Lastly, Moby Dick is indeed a sophisticated read. Herman Melville’s language is elevating, and the students read it, speak it, learn it by heart, choose passages that they love, and begin to ingest it and make it all their own. Last time I taught the main lesson, 最后,bst365进行了一次反思课程的对话,其中一位学生说,在主课期间,他们自己的创造性写作得到了提高. Another called from across the circle, “It’s the language; it’s because of the language [of Moby Dick].” 

My experience of teaching Moby Dick 对年轻人来说,学生们的谈话是一次进入未知海洋的旅程. 他们的写作是一种思想和情感之路的描绘. Their essays were marked by strong, objective observations, clear thinking, emotional commitment and beautiful language. 我注意到他们也非常喜欢更实际的任务,比如打结, naming the parts of the whaling ship, and tracking the path of the Pequod. When asked to work an independent project of their own, they have baked hard tac, fashioned lances and harpoons, painted images from the novel, composed songs and created short films. Looking back on their high school years, 学生们通常会把课程的最后两天作为他们最美好的回忆之一. bst365在神秘海港度过,学生们有机会睡在船上,探索W. Charles Morgan (the oldest surviving whaling vessel), climb rigging, row whale boats, throw harpoons, and speak to the world famous Melville scholar Mary K. Bercaw Edwards. 


我不认为bst365的学生会对菲尔布里克的书感到惊讶. 一旦他们研究了梅尔维尔的史诗小说,他们自己就会接触到菲尔布里克的思想. 我确实在他的书中发现了一个细节,我很珍惜,并将在我和九年级学生一起品尝这门课时铭记在心. According to Philbrick, after Melville died, 他的家人在他的写字桌里发现了一张纸,上面写着弗里德里希·席勒(Friedrich Schiller)的话:“忠于你年轻时的梦想。.”