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The Hypocrisy of Religion in Moby Dick

The Hypocrisy of Religion in Moby Dick

Stubb decides to give Old Fleece a lecture on religion after waking him to complain about his overcooked whale steak. Not only does Stubb ask Fleece to “preach” to the sharks who are making a considerable din eating the dead whale chained to the ship, but he compares Fleece’s inability to “correctly” cook a whale steak to Fleece’s un-Christian ways. This passage is an excellent example of the theme of the hypocrisy of religion in Moby Dick.

Before Stubb calls on Fleece, Ishmael compares the actions of the shark to the actions of man. He first compares Stubb to the sharks: “Nor was Stubb the only banqueter on whale’s flesh that night. Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications, thousands on thousands of sharks, swarming round the dead leviathan, smackingly feasted on its fatness” (Melville ___). By comparing Stubb to a shark, Ishmael portrays him as beastly and uncivilized, two traits that contradict the Christianity he professes and ministers to Fleece. Two more references are made to solidify the comparison; Ishmael describes the “smacking” of Stubb’s “epicurean lips,” and Stubb himself says he prefers his whale steak the way the sharks prefer it.

Next, Ishmael alludes to the bond between sharks and man in general. “The few sleepers below in their bunks were often startled by the sharp slapping of their tails against the hull, within a few inches of the sleepers’ hearts” (___). This line poses contradiction; how can the tails of the sharks be within inches of the crew’s hearts in the tails are slapping the hull of the ship, for the hull of a whaleboat would be much wider than a few inches. What Ishmael means when he says “within a few inches of the sleepers’ hearts” is…

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…es of Stubb, he is being ordered to perform a number of tasks, including bowing to Stubb. Religion is nothing more than a hierarchy, where those in power are able to use others in the name of religion.

Fleece never shows any sign of relief or enjoyment at being a Christian now; in fact, he seems to have gone through the conversion just so Stubb would let him go to bed. As Fleece walks away from Stubb, he mutters to himself, “Wish, by gor! whale eat him, ‘stead of him eat whale. I’m bressed if he ain’t more of shark dan Massa Shark hisself” (___). This is the culmination of the scene, where Fleece spells out that sharks, savage beasts without religion, and Stubb, a cultured Christian, are quite similar. This makes Stubb a hypocrite, and his Christian belief system questionable.

Works Cited

Mellville, Herman. Moby Dick. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964.

Comparing My Papa’s Waltz and Listening to grownups quarrel

Comparring My Papa’s Waltz and Listening to grownups quarrel

Poems are often designed to express deep feelings and thoughts about a particular theme. In Theodore Roethke’s poem, My Papa’s Waltz, and Ruth Whitman’s poem, Listening to grownups quarreling, the theme of childhood is conveyed through their details, although we can neither see a face nor hear a voice. These poems are very much alike in their ideas of how their memories pertain to the attitudes of their childhood; however, the wording and tones of the two poems are distinct in how they present their memories. The two poems can be compared and contrasted through the author’s use of tone, imagery, and recollection of events; which illustrate each author’s memories of childhood.

The tone of a poem can only by recognized when reading carefully and paying close attention to the words and what they might suggest. The rhyme scheme of My Papa’s Waltz is extremely relevant to the poem. For example, in the first stanza dizzy and easy create the rollicking rhythm, as does the following stanza’s with the same pattern. The structure of words create an almost “waltz” like melody. The phrase ” we romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf” and ” waltzed me off to bed” (Roethke 5-6, 15), convey a pleasant atmosphere to the reader. The title itself creates an affectionate attitude with the connection of Papa and waltz. The choice of words and details are used systematically to produce thoughts to the reader of happiness and affection, thus, establishing the tone of this poem.

The tone of Listening to grownups quarreling, has a completely different impact. When reading this poem, the reader has a more sad outlook on the thoughts of this author’s memories. Whitman uses …

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…nal family. The second poem uses harsh details described in similes, metaphors, and personification. The message of a horribly bad childhood is clearly defined by the speaker in this poem. Finally, the recollection of events, as described by the two speakers, is distinguished by the psychological aspect of how these two children grew up. Because the first child grew up in a passive home where everything was hush-hush, the speaker described his childhood in that manner; trying to make it sound better than what it actually was. The young girl was very forward in describing her deprivation of a real family and did not beat around the bush with her words. It is my conclusion that the elements of tone, imagery, and the recollection of events are relevant to how the reader interprets the message conveyed in a poem which greatly depends on how each element is exposed.

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