Abstract: Like a pearl in the great ocean of literature, Moby Dick has received enthusiastic applaud and appreciation from worldwide readers. With its profound symbolic meaning, it fascinates numerable critics. Since 1920s, critics have embarked on repositioning and reconstructing this classic from diverse perspectives. And they have already reaped a bountiful harvest from this resourceful novel.But most of those illuminating essays generally focus on character analysis, while the embodied significance of anthropocentrism and ecocritcism are somehow overlooked or devoid of meticulous examination. This thesis will interpret the anthropocentrism and ecocritcism embedded in the profound symbolism in Moby Dick. Anthropocentrism is the idea that humans must be the central concerned, and that humanity must judge all things accordingly, The conflict between human-center attitude and nature-center attitude just falls into the research scope of ecocriticism, as it studies the relationship between literature and the physical environment. The paper consists of four parts.Melville’s greatest novel was created in an age of progress in America, his life story, especially his adventures on the sea, has exerted a great influence on his creation, which will be briefly introduced in the first chapter.Meanwhile a review on the concepts of anthropocentrism and ecocritism will be presented in chapter two. Christianity, Renaissance and Enlightenment Movement are all influencing powers in shaping the concepts of anthropocentrism, which is manifested by the hero of the novel to an extreme. The new trend, ecocriticism, in literary critic field will be introduced from the angle of its history and its significance.The third chapter tries to interpret anthropocentrism and ecocritism from three aspects:the relationship between human and nature, the symbolism of characters and the conflicts among characters. Moby Dick is a glimpse of the middle 19th century whaling industry in America, and is the symbol of supernatural power and innocence, while Captain Ahab is both a murder and victim. Ishmael is a social castaway and a rebellious reformer, while Starbuck symbolizes tradition, loyalty and conservativeness. Abah’s conflicts with Moby Dick, with his crew and nature propel the development of the story and make it a labyrinth of art.Chapter four concludes the paper with objective criticism about Melville’s classic in the literary world and a restatement of the significance of analyzing anthropocentrism and ecocritism in Moby Dick.
Anthropocentrism and Ecocriticism in Moby Dick
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