So, for example, the whole savage/civilized parallels in Moby-Dick, it seems to me, have to be handled delicately, lest one fall into the oft-pilloried "magical negro" made famous recently in several King stories. (And of course, Melville himself can look pretty dated and quaint in many ways because of this dynamic.) But, at the same time, I'd like to keep some contrast and interplay between, let us say, the "spiritually obtuse but curious" narrator, and the "spiritually attuned but intutitive and unable to articulate it" sidekick. So, for now, I'd like to work through the analogous relations of
Presbyterian : Yojo-worshipper : : Agnostic : Christian
Of course, there are all kinds of potential problems with that: Am I implying Presbyterians aren't Christians? Well, of course not, but OTOH, I do think that (roughly) the modern worldview takes a kind of bland agnosticism or secularism for granted, the way Melville's ethos would've taken a "regular" Christian denomination like Presebyterianism as the "norm." And, moreover, to many North Americans, a Christian (esp a virtuous one) is as exotic a curiosity as a Yojo-worshiper (esp a VERY virtuous one, who nonetheless sells shrunken heads around town) would've been to Ishmael in New Bedford. So I'm not unhappy with the syllogism, so far.