Dillingham's method is not, however, confined to a reading of the texts. Melville's stories contain so many allusions to the contemporary scene that they constitute in themselves a cultural study. An important contribution of Melville's Short Fiction is its discussion of these allusions. Finally, Dillingham examines the relationship between the short fiction and Melville's own life. Much of the writer's frustration and struggle is concealed in these early works. Melville's friendship with Hawthorne, for example, an intense and yet in some ways disappointing relationship for both men, is explored as an important influence on several of the stories.
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