Harriet Hustis, “‘Universal Mixing’ and Interpenetrating Standing: Disability and Community in Melville’s Moby-Dick” (pp. 26-55)
This essay examines whether the representation of disability and community in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) is limited to the narcissistic determinism of Ahab. It argues that although Ahab perceives his disability as unusual, when set against the backdrop of the novel and the realities of the whaling profession in the nineteenth century, it is not. The essay claims that Ishmael’s status as “Isolatoe” is redefined through his act of narrative remembrance and his function as storyteller. Ultimately, the essay concludes that Ishmael’s retrospective offers a unique gloss on the interruptive nature of disability and its moral and narrative implications.
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