For nowadays, the whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the carking cares of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber.
Ishmael illuminates the irony with which he embarks on his whaling journey: he attempts to escape society by venturing onto the open sea. However, rather than fully retreating into nature, he agrees to destroy the very emblem of all that is wild and free — the Great Whale — in exchange for profit, so he becomes even more intertwined in the ruthless industrialism of society that he had hoped to abscond.
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