> I am doing a paper over the novel "In The Heart Of The Sea:
> The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex" which is about a sperm whale that
> rams the ship. That is not a usual thing for a sperm whale to do.
> Are sperm whales aggressive? Are they easily provoked? Would a sperm
> whale attack a ship if another sperm whale was being attacked by the
> whale hunters? I think it was an act of God. Do you think the same?
> Could you give me some information on sperm whales that will prove
> that they are gentle creatures and not usually aggresive as in the
> book, please? Thank you for your time.
> Please write me back at Chiefmojo64@hotmail.com
> Once again thank you.
> Sean Harris
Rogue sperm whales have been known for hundreds of years. In the early
19th century several were known to whalers and were given names. Herman
Melville's book, Moby Dick, was based in part on the sinking of the
Essex (from the first-hand account: The Narrative of the Most
Extraordinary and Distressing Ship-wreck of the Whale Ship Essex,
published by Owen Chase in 1821) and the account by J.N. Reynolds Mocha
Dick: or the white whale of the Pacific: A leaf from a Manuscript
Journal, published in The Knickerbocker, New York Monthly Magazine Vol.
13, No. 5, May 1839.
Other named rogue bull sperm whales include: Paita Tom (off northern
Peru), New Zealand Tom (off New Zealand), Timor Tom (Indonesia), New
Zealand Jack, Morquan (off Japan) and Don Miguel (off Chile).
Here's a quote about sperm whales from Melville's Mody Dick (chapter
"Yet as late the Sperm Whale Fishery has been marked by various and not
unfrequent instances of great ferocity, cunning, and malice in the
monster attacked; therefore, it was, that those who by accident
ignorantly gave battle to Moby Dick; such hunters, perhaps, for the
most part, were content to ascribe the peculiar terror he bred, more as
it were, to the perils of the Sperm Whale Fishery at large, . . ."
Yes, sperm whales -- especially rogue males -- can be aggressive.
Sperm whales are wild creatures and are not gentle creatures like
fluffy bunnies or poodles. The males are sexually dimorphic (larger
than females) and compete with other males for access to the harems.
By the way, the book is a nonfiction discription of an actual event.
Sorry to dispel your opinion of these creatures, but that's the way it
is in nature.
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