Herman Melville is one of the most iconic authors of American literature His novels and short stories were written in the 19th century, and reflect the cultural, political and religious changes in the United States at that time and during the mid-1800s. Melville was an early and influential voice in the literary movement of Realism, and his influence has been felt in the work of many authors since.
The topics of analysis that can be explored in Herman Melville’s work are vast and varied. Here are five important essay topics to consider:
1. Social Protest in Herman Melville’s Work. Melville’s works often contain a subversive social message, such as in his novel “Moby-Dick.” An exploration of the ways in which he employs satire and irony to make political, social, and racial commentary can be fascinating.
2. The Role of Religion in Melville’s Work. Melville’s stories often explore themes of faith and religion, from “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to the direct religious commentary of “Billy Budd.” An essay that examines how he used religious ideas in his writing can be very interesting.
3. Race and Slavery in Melville’s Work. Much of Melville’s writing explores the idea of freedom and the complex relationship between the American economy and slavery. An essay looking at the ways in which he presents these themes can provide great insight into his work.
4. The Theme of Isolation in Melville’s Work. Isolation is a key motif in many of Melville’s stories and characters, from Ahab in “Moby-Dick” to Benito Cereno in “Benito Cereno.” An essay exploring how Melville explores this theme of isolation can offer great insight into his writing.
5. Nature in Melville’s Work. Melville was a keen observer of the natural world, and many of his works explore the relationship between man and nature, from “The Encantadas” to “Typee.” An essay examining how he uses this theme in his work can be very engaging.
These five essay topics on Herman Melville offer a wide range of possibilities and insights into the great American author’s work. His literary contributions are varied and complex and can provide interesting material for debate, interpretation and analysis.