25 October, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Characters Who Didn't Get What They Deserved

Moby Dick
Herman Melville

The whale definitely didn’t get what he deserved. This is mostly from Ahab’s perspective but, to be fair, the whale did take his leg so he should’ve expected some retribution. Whales are huge bastards. As a person who mostly hates whales, I was rooting for Ahab the whole time while reading Moby Dick. I would read and shout, “I hope you kill him good!” or, “A thousand lamps will burn brightly with Moby Dick’s oily blood.” Stuff like that. Moby Dick should’ve known that once someone swears vengeance upon you, then you’re pretty much through. Look at what happened in Kill Bill. That’s how it’s supposed to go. The bad guy (in this case, the whale) should be killed and the good guy (in this case, Ahab) should barely live to tell the story. He will live just long enough to be killed by Moby Dick Jr. in the sequel.

-Jason Lee Norman

3 thoughts on “LitStaff Pick: Characters Who Didn't Get What They Deserved

  1. Jason, good essay, but Moby's a sperm whale, not a killer whale, and if anyone's a bastard, it's that cold soul Ahab. (It's not for nothin' that I bought a Moby Dick sweatshirt to celebrate the whale.) I beg you to reconsider.

  2. Entertaining. I assumed the anti-whale bit about Moby Dick was meant to be parodic. My nomination for character who doesn't get what she deserves (by which I mean I think she's treated quite unfairly by the author/narrative): Mary Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice." The nerdy sister who doesn't have the other sisters' wit or beauty or social acumen, she's openly ridiculed by her family & ends up single & having to care for her tiresome & mismatched parents as they age. Every time I read the book, I pity this character.

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