Figurative Language in Moby-Dick

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will examine Herman Melville's use of figurative language in ''Moby-Dick,'' a novel about a whaling captain's obsession with hunting a particular whale.


When Pillsbury chose to make the Doughboy the mascot of their company, they were using personification to persuade children to beg their parents for breads and cookies from this adorable, giggling ball of bread. Personification is one of the types of figurative language that is used in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Figurative language is used to draw attention to some elements of the story, connect the reader's background knowledge, or describe a person, thing, or feeling. This epic novel tells the journey of a group of whalers with a monomaniacal captain who is preoccupied with hunting the large, white whale, Moby Dick. Let's discuss some of the figurative language that is used in this novel.

Literary Terms

The following types of figurative language are found in this novel:

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