Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   The Description of the Characters in Herman Melville's "White-Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War"
Author:   Toru Nishiura
College:   Liberal Arts
Degree Program:   English, M.A.
Degree:   Master of Arts
Committee Director:   Dr. Katharine Rodier
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   11/30/2005

Many characters who have various personalities appear in Herman Melville’s "White-Jacket." However, few critics have comprehensively examined the action and the characteristics of them in detail. In this thesis, I explore Melville’s depiction of the battleship world in this novel by clarifying the narrator’s standard to judge other characters. In "White-Jacket," the whole story is narrated by White-Jacket; therefore, the characteristics of his narrative clarify the theme of this novel. I start with an analysis of his narrative and examine whether he is a reliable narrator or not. Then, I explore the relationship between the battleship world and the characters. Moreover, I analyze the inclination of the narrator’s description of the other characters and confirm Melville’s attitude in the narrator’s description. Specifically, I examine Jack Chase and Ushant who resist the evils of the battleship world and clarify Melville’s skeptical assertion toward the U.S. Navy in those days.  

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