In studying the advancement of the early American book, one might discover it useful to compare Ishmael’s relationship with Queequeg in “Moby Penis” to Huck’s relationship with Jim in “Huckleberry Finn”. In each case, the “savage” actually humanizes and civilizes the allegedly “civilized” character. Nevertheless, it is the resemblances and distinctions in the process each author utilizes that the reader will discover most interesting.
One similarity in between the two remains in the method both Melville and Twain utilize the relationships in concern to expose hypocrisy in society. In Huck Finn, physical appearance is the only requirements thought about in identifying which persons are managed rights. No matter how immoral a white man may be, society offers him power over a highly ethical black character like Jim. In addition, society looks unfavorably upon Pap but still gives him custody of Huck. Huck’s well-being as a kid is plainly not considered to be as crucial to society as the preservation of Pap’s rights as a sperm donor (for he truly has not made the title “father”). Twain really effectively satirizes the complete lack of logic in decisions made by the society from the justice system to the rather blindly-followed distortions of Christianity. None of the decisions made seem to really make good sense. Instead, everybody appears to follow without question the sets of arbitrary laws and guidelines that govern social organizations. On the raft, Huck and Jim are able to rise above the illogical guidelines of society and form what would clearly be a forbidden relationship in which Jim is not just Huck’s equivalent but his dad figure also. Huck’s depth of compassion for Jim is what ultimately drives him to the option to help Jim regardless of the legal and moral/religious consequences he believes that he will deal with. It is only after Huck is impacted by Jim’s humankind that this can really happen.
The most obvious example from Moby-Dick that enters your mind to resolve the issue of hypocrisy in society is the treatment of salaries by the ship owners, which is an echo of the hypocrisy in Daddy Mapple’s preaching about the sin of disobedience. Captain Bildad, who preaches that guys must not store up treasure on earth, is one of the most in danger of hellfire because of his avarice. Nevertheless, Queequeg does not seem to have an idea of this sort of greed and gives freely of what is his to Ishmael. Ishmael seems practically frustrated with Queequeg’s generosity since he has been programmed by society to believe in a different way. In this way, Queequeg’s actions are “civil” and those taught to Ismael (society’s values) are more savage.
Another resemblance remains in how both authors allow the characters to leave society and produce their own world on the water. Within this world, the influence of social “worths” is reduced in favor of a sensible or more practical system of values. To put it simply, the values of the “uncivilized” character are adopted in favor of the worths of the “civilized” character in the set. Particularly, instead of valuing an individual according to something as approximate as external physical appearance, functionalities such as survival abilities and friendship surface area as being the crucial elements to think about in evaluating an individual’s worth. For instance, Queequeg is explained at first as weird to Ismael. His appearance, his rituals, and his good manners all seem extremely foreign to the narrator.
Simply put, he would be considered “savage” by society’s requirements. Nevertheless, on board the Pequod, he is an important figure with equal standing in the whaling society. When he is offered problem from the other sailors, it is the impact of the worths of the society on land that causes disturbance. When Queequeg jumps overboard and conserves the sailor who he might have eliminated before the ship set sail, each guy understands the worth of his presence and the need for his type of altruism in their world.
Also, Jim is merely a slave in the eyes of society in Huck Finn, but he is Huck’s lifeline. Huck’s survival relies on Jim as much as Jim’s relies on Huck in most cases. They are not of equal worth by society’s standards, but when they are on the raft, they are equals. Huck’s trouble in accepting this reality is always tied back to society’s influence. His beliefs in some of the things he was taught about Christianity conflict with his feelings about what he experiences when he is away from that society, which is part of what makes his decision to assist Jim such a powerful one. Huck’s determination to go to hell is interesting both in the method he sees hell and in the way his lack of maturity causes him to reveal defiance rather than question what he was taught.
The major similarities in the two relationships in these novels can be connected to the way both authors are attempting to attend to the problems of a dehumanized society. It is this society, which professes to be civilized, that destroys that which is civil and humane in individuals in favor of that which brings earnings or otherwise assists in causing that ultimate end. The difference in characters such as Queequeg and Jim as opposed to the society of white, civilized America is discovered by checking out the soul. Humanity has actually not yet been torn from the “savages” the method it has actually been taught out of Huck and Ishmael when they begin their journeys, and so their “savage” equivalents must bring out the natural humankind in the two lead characters.