Moby Dick is a story of the whaling ship Pequod and its captain's monomaniacal quest for revenge. Maimed by the white whale Moby Dick, Ahab sinks deeper and deeper into his obsession with exacting vengeance on the beast. The richly symbolic story, narrated by penniless sailor Ishmael, is as much an exploration of whaling and the scientific study of whales as it is a tale of fixation, violence, and the search for meaning in a meaningless world.

Summary of Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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Moby Dick Chapter Summaries (Free)

1SparkNotes

Review: The most popular website for book notes. SparkNotes was created by students for students, and their summaries are accessible and extremely well-written. Besides the usual plot overview, chapter summaries, and character analysis, SparkNotes differentiates itself with a section discussing themes, motifs, and symbols.

2BookRags

Review: Boasting the largest collection of book summaries, BookRags is the best option for titles you can't find elsewhere. They offer all of the basics (quotes, chapter summary, characters, historical context, literary criticism) but also walk through a few major topics that recur throughout the book, which can be particularly useful for writing essays.

3Cliffs Notes

Review: The original provider of professionally-written study guides, Cliffs Notes were available in print form before the Internet even existed. Their content is very comprehensive and includes an analysis of characters, detailed chapter by chapter summaries, critical essays, essay topics, and many other sections.

4GradeSaver

Review: You won't get any frills with GradeSaver -- just the content you expect. Their study guides include a full plot summary, themes and character analysis, study questions, and the e-text of the book. One hidden gem is their collection of literature essays, but you'll have to pay for it.

5JiffyNotes

Review: This is a good choice if you're looking for a quick read or refresher rather than an in-depth analysis. You'll get a short book summary and chapter breakdown, and while the colors are strange, at least the website loads quickly.