Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Rigsby, Mary

Major or Concentration



This essay, "When the 'Universal Trump is Passed Around'" was the final paper submitted to Dr. Mary Rigsby at the conclusion of the Fall 2016 semester for her Moby-Dick senior seminar (Engl.455J). On the first day of class, Dr. Rigsby posed the question to nine senior English majors that would serve as both the prompt for our final essay and overall theme for the course: Is Moby-Dick worth preserving? Throughout the slow and careful reading of Herman Melville's renowned novel about the great white whale, the many parallels to life aboard the Pequod to life in 2017 breached the surface. In essence, this essay is a long-winded "yes" to Dr. Rigsby's question on day one. Relying on the metaphor of America as a ship, I argue for the similarities between the Pequod's Captain and crew-members of 1851 and the citizens and President of the United States today.