"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.
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by Herman Melville
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