Taken from http://www.shmoop.com/moby-dick/symbolism-imagery.html on July 30, 2010.
Humor columnist Dave Barry once gave potential English majors some advice using Moby-Dick as an example:
Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in your paper you say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland. Your professor...will think you are enormously creative.