I’m sure a Melville critic has said this before, but at the end of Moby-Dick, with the ship destroyed and Ahab dead, Ishmael calls himself an orphan.
Doesn’t this mean the boat was his family?
And that Ahab was his father?
I suppose I could go off on how the whole thing is an Oedipal fantasy fulfilled but I won’t. That's probably been thoroughly covered too.
As many also know, D.H. Lawrence and Carl Van Doren were among the first to champion Melville's work after it had largely been forgotten. This is Lawrence's classic study that captured his view that Meville ranked with Whitman and other greats.