Jumping Ship In The South Pacific

In January of 1841 the twenty-two-year-old Herman Melville shipped aboard the whaler Acushnet for a multi-year cruise.  He had many motivations for doing this.  There was, in the first place, a desire to see the world and test himself against its challenges; then there was a need to escape the stultifying confines and restrictions of a nineteenth-century “proper” American household; and finally, a longing to cleanse himself of his father’s failures, disgrace, and early death.

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