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Although Moby-Dick presents many memorable characters and riveting scenes, they just aren't enough to redeem this awful novel. What was Melville thinking? His bloated prose and obsessive chronicles of the minutiae of whaling obliterate the promising story. Melville's contorted writing and contrived chapter titles and literary devices soon appear downright silly. Although readers are introduced to the narrator in the famous opening line, "Call me Ishmael," Ishmael's voice is soon subverted by Melville's overeager, encyclopedic, immensely dull lectures on the history of whaling. The cringe-inducing abundance of semicolons, allusion, and allegory combine to make this one long, painful read. The longest sentence in the book? Over 400 words, and completely unessential to the story. Although I loved many characters, including the charming Queequeg and maniacal Ahab, these main characters actually appear in relative few pages of the book. I read Moby-Dick in junior year of high school, the first and last time our teacher assigned it. Our class is still united by a permanent loathing of Melville. The most hope I hold for this book is an edited version that corrects Melville's lunatic, overbearing whaling commentary. And for any contemporary critics that argue Moby-Dick deserves the title of the "greatest American novel," I urge them to reread the chapter entitled "A Squeeze of the Hand." I doubt many casual readers will make it through all 600 pages of this tome, although completion of the novel does grant a dubious satisfaction.  


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