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"Call me Ishmael," Moby Dick begins, in one of the most recognizable opening lines in Western literature. The name has come to symbolize orphans, exiles, and social outcasts-- in the opening paragraph of Moby Dick, Ishmael tells the reader that he has turned to the sea out of a feeling of alienation from human society. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab has one purpose on this voyage: to seek out a specific whale-- Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg, which now drives Ahab to take revenge.

More books from this author: Herman Melville

More books in this series: Great Works that Shape our World