Moby Dick Isn't Very Good

I've been reading Moby Dick lately. It's an American Classic, right? Everyone knows of it, so presumably it's good enough to be worth reading, right?

So far I don't really get it. I'm planning on doing some research after the fact to look into why it has such staying power and why the Americans make all their students read it.

As of now, they're off on the sea and Ahab has just told everyone about the big mission of revenge they're on. I only mention that to give some context to where I am with it.

As I was reading on the train this morning, it occurred to me that Mr. Melville seems to have decided at some point that he wasn't writing a novel anymore and is now writing a stage play or something.

I didn't notice when it happened, but it's happened. Perhaps he just finished studying Shakespeare or something and thought he'd give that a go.

I'm sure I was reading a somewhat cohesive narrative at the beginning. I remember thinking it was odd that he basically tossed in a mini-encyclopedia of whales along the way, but now it's completely different. Now he's throwing in little stage directions to set the scene, and then just having some character ramble along with a lengthy soliloquy.

I really don't get it.