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An allusion is a reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art writers often use biblical and mythological allusions to which their readers are familiar in. Authors love making allusions to all sorts of stuff, and so does herman melville in moby-dick learn all about them here.
Melville frequently employs biblical allusions as keys to understanding in the novel, and he does so here the biblical ishmael (genesis 16:1-16 21:10 ff) is disinherited and dismissed.
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