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Modern Whaling vs. Moby Dick

In: English and Literature

Submitted By macylawson
Words 464
Pages 2
At the time that Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, the standard techniques of whale hunting had remained the same for many centuries. The methods we use today weren't invented until the centuries later and they contrasts from whaling of the nineteenth century in various ways. Present day whale hunting has progressed from whaling of Melville's day and the whalers are even hunting for different reasons. For example, in Herman Melville's Day, whalers sailed out on small boats searching for the "elephants of the sea." If the wind was not in their favor, they had to smoothly paddle with oars, careful not to scare their prey. When coming upon a whale, the harpooner would kill the beast with a manual harpoon. The hunters must bring the massive animal onboard the ship, to immediately remove the oil, since they are onboard for years at a time. Similar to nineteenth century whaling, whalers today also have small fishing boats, but with sails or motor to speed up the process. They use harpoon cannons, invented by two Norwegians, that explode once penetrated a foot into the flesh of the whale. Occasionally the mammal will not die immediately, therefore the harpooner will shoot it with a high powered riffle. Then the whalers either tow the whale to shore or bring it alongside the ship. Along with the sail, the invention of the explosive harpoon was a dramatic progress for modern whalers and became the turning point in whaling. This difference in these two systems of whale catching shows the advance in modern technology and methods. The explosive harpooner is a more efficient and promising way of getting their job done. The newer harpoon allows their mission to be slightly safer since they aren't forced to slaughter the beast by hand. In addition, present day whale hunters are primarily in search of whales for their meat. In contrast, whalers of the nineteenth century were seeking after whale oil. This shows that the whalers have had to change their incentive to accommodate society's change in demand over the years. Our society has discovered alternatives to using whale oil that serve the same purpose, whereas whale meat can not be replaced or mimicked. Furthermore, the compressor, solved a lingering problem with regard to the many species which are not buoyant after death. The hunters began pumping air into the carcass immediately after the animal died, whalers could secure it before it sank, thus greatly decreasing the loss rate. In both time eras, the whalers were ultimately aiming to achieve the same goal, but the modern whalers were at an advantage because of the increase in knowledge over time. The whale hunters if the nineteenth century and present were each wise, driven men with slightly different systems to accomplish a similar outcome.…...

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