The Great American Novel Apr 24, 2008
When I studied this book in college, we discussed what Melville was describing in this story. It's not only about a young man's transformation through his experiences on the Pequod, nor is it only about Ahab's obsession with killing Moby Dick to the exclusion of all else. It's about man's struggle against Nature, the attempts by man to change, control, and eventually overcome Nature. Melville understood that man could never accomplish this, but would only end up destroying himself as Ahab destroyed himself by harpooning Moby Dick.
In my opinion, this is still the greatest American novel ever written, not only for the twin stories of Ishmael and Ahab, but also educational in how whalers lived, worked, and sometimes died.