Written a century apart the two books, “Moby Dick”, by Herman Melville in 1851, and “The old man and the sea”, by Ernest Hemingway in 1952, create worlds that are based on similar themes, which share motifs and teach lessons of life.
“Moby Dick” is a novel that places its action on the sea and involves the work of whale hunters. The author creates a macrocosm- the sea and a microcosm the ship “Pequod” where the crew formed of men from different races and social classes are gathered with one purpose to find and kill The White Whale.
In the novella “The old man and the sea” the action also takes place on the sea, it centers upon a Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream, it has fewer characters that don’t intertwine, but we have an accentuated relationship between man and nature, between ethics and pride.
Some of these oppositions create themes shared by both books. Life versus death is a major theme because the characters value life and struggle to stay alive and at the same time be victorious. In Ernest Hemingway’s narrative Santiago wants to regain his honor in front of the villagers and in front of himself; he is proud because he used to be respected and valued but as his luck faded so did his good name. Captain Ahab, a major character in Melville’s novel, was also drowned by greatness and determination into revenge, because of his injury he thinks that he has less control upon the crew and wants to regain his title by creating an obsessive revengeful plan to kill the “evil White Whale”. There victory or defeat depends on there judgment and so we find that Captain Ahab wanted just revenge and didn’t think of the consequences; he is defeated by his own obsession. Santiago, the prime character in the novella, only wants to prove himself to himself and fights a battle with his moral issues knowing that he hasn’t the right to kill a being. He also finds in the fish a friend which he calls “brother”, a worthy.