There is only one word that will go through your head while you are reading this never ending novel… and it is WHAT. Melville’s unique arrangement of ideas makes this novel a puzzle that doesn’t really fit together. Melville continuously uses the stream of consciousness technique and goes on and on and on about tangents that allude to his opinion of literature, his relationship with Hawthorne, and Pierre’s inevitable death. Simply put, these tangents are irrelevant to the plot. The worst part is that these long sections were sometimes longer than the actual plot of this book.
Poor Pierre is portrayed as such a weak masculine character that makes rash decisions. I believe everyone should think of solutions that are outside of the box, but Pierre takes this way too far. Like who on earth decides to marry their sister? With that said, it is hard to hate on Pierre because the poor boy has the whole weight of the world on his shoulders. He gets kicked out of his house because his mom is jealous of his relationship with his illegitimate sister, loses his inherited fortune, leaves his lover, and struggles to make a living as an author. It’s hard to tell what Melville is trying to convey to the reader in this work. We understand he is frustrated with literature and publishers in general. But that’s about it. Unless Melville is trying to encourage incestuous relationships, this novel doesn’t really enrich the minds of its readers.