Reward and punishment and Herman Melville



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Herman Melville (1819-1891) lived during the height of the Romantic period in literature. Because he spent most of his life in the New York and New England section of the United States, he found himself to be the product of Romanticism and of Puritanism, two seemingly polar and irreconcilable doctrines. The object of this study has been to evaluate the position of Herman Melville, Romantic and Puritan, toward reward and punishment. This theme figures most prominently in his four prose works, Typee, White Jacket, Moby-Dick, and Billy end appears on three levels- reward and punishment of the self by the self, by society, and by God. As Puritan, Melville felt the need for order which each level afforded him; as Romantic artist, he felt the desperate need to escape the same order; and the images and statements in each of the four novels have been grouped to express this duality. [...]