Analysis Of The Sermon on the book of Jonah in Moby Dick

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In the Book of Jonah, Jonah is used to demonstrate not so much the nature of the central character in Jonah as it is to illustrate the central character of Yahweh or God. Yet, in so doing, the faults of mankind are effectively illustrated because they are contrasted directly with the perfection of God.


Jonah's reaction is held in stark contrast with the demeanor of God who, "And God saw their works, how they turned from their evil way; and God relented of the evil which he said he would do to them, and did it not" (Kent 422). This is a key point vis--vis Melville's use of the Book of Jonah as a literary device because he leaves this clear counterpoint out of the thread of his text and plot. For Melville, the story of Jonah ends with Jonah's deliverance from the belly of the whale: "...and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breaching up toward the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and 'vomited out Jonah upon the dry land'" (Melville 58). At this point in the Book of Jonah the tale loses all relevance for Melville because it has served its purpose; but what purpose
The original story can be succinctly divided into two parts with two essential lessons for man: 1) Yahweh command and Jonah disobeys to his everlasting shame and punishment, 2) Yahweh commands and Jonah obeys much to his chagrin, and in both instances Jonah's faults are made apparent and offered up to mankind as object lessons regarding both the authority and benevolence of Yahweh. In fact, Jonah continues in the Book of Jonah to command God, even following his deliverance from the belly of the whale to command God in a manner that meets his expectations:
Therefore, O Jehovah, tak ...
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