I do not understand why this book is considered an American classic, unless it was so designated by an enemy of the USA who wants to make us look foolish. Melville is long-winded, wordy and pedantic. If he didn't try to overwhelm the reader with every piece of trivia he could find about whales, it might have been slightly better. Melville seems to be looking down upon the reader by using infinite references to obscure gods, goddesses, mythology and tidbits from around the world. The conversations, or soliloquies, were completely unnatural. Would you calmly deliver a five minute speech to yourself if your ship were sinking? Not only did Ahab do this, so did Starbucks and Stubbs! I never sympathized with any character in the book, but Starbucks and Moby Dick. I was glad that Ahab finally got what he deserved. It is too bad that Moby Dick had to suffer in the process. I do not recommend this book, unless as jailhouse torture.