It’s a difficult thing analyzing a book you haven’t read using only the most used words within that book. For this task, I chose Herman Melville’s Moby Dick because I do plan on reading it later this year. While researching the most used words, I found some predictable outcomes and some finds that made me consider some themes to keep an eye out for when I read the novel later this semester.
The most used word in the novel is “whale.” This didn’t really surprise me considering the novels alternative name is The Whale. Considering the book is about an old captain searching for the whale that took his leg, it is understandable that many common phrases connected to the sea would be among the most used words. I expected “boat,” “sea,” “captain,” and “Ahab” to be used a lot; however, I was surprised by one word in particular “god.”
As I thought about “god” and how it fits into the story, I realized that throughout this perilous journey many characters would reflect on the afterlife and the almighty’s role in their predicament. Furthermore, the word declines in usage as the novel goes on. Reflecting on this detail, I wondered if as their search for the whale proves more and more dangerous the characters lose faith in God.
Overall, I found this task quite interesting in terms of exploring a novel one has never read before. I am curious as to whether or not my predictions for Moby Dick will come true or be washed away with the tide.