A Whale of a (True) Tale
Yes, Moby-Dick was based on a real-life whale—and that whale even had a very similar name. In the 19th century, a massive albino sperm whale destroyed over 20 ships that tried to hunt it. Whalers named the notorious beast “Mocha Dick.” Common names like Jack, Tom, or Dick were given to whales at that time to identify them. As for “Mocha,” it was the name of the South American island where the whale first appeared. Herman Melville (who had some whaling experience himself) read about the killing of Mocha Dick in 1839, and 700 pages later, we got Moby-Dick.