Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Mark B. Kelley

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ana Luszczynska

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Martha Schoolman

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


sailors, shanties, labor, homosocial, queer, sea, ocean, maritime, intimacy, nostalgia, Dana, Melville

Date of Defense



This thesis studies the male sailor community in Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and how they are portrayed in terms of homosociality and intimacy. The presence of a homosocial community on board a sailing vessel provided a means of forming a group of men that cultivated relationships and communications through the production of labor with one another. Both Melville and Dana engaged readers in the workings of a sailor’s life and how those interactions on board a ship with fellow sailors formed a premise for the evaluation of maritime labor in nineteenth-century oceanic narratives. The creation of these labor spaces is a communal means of sharing thoughts, feelings, and emotions with each sailor. Through the analysis of sea shanties sung during labor in Two Years Before the Mast and the intimate relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg in Moby-Dick, this thesis revolves around the labor aspects of each sailor’s presence on board a sailing vessel and how their close, homosocial desires connect each one of them more intimately.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).