London, UK - Trafalgar Square Mermaid Fountain; Clinton, MA - Foster Fountain

Trafalgar Square Mermaids 2.jpg


London, UK - Trafalgar Square Mermaid Fountain; Clinton, MA - Foster Fountain

Catalog Entry

Within Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Ishmael’s telling of Ahab’s revenge-seeking quest against Moby Dick proves that the ship captain was fighting for something that was taken from him and how important it was. He believed that he had to brave out the stormy seas to receive some sort of personal justice. This story, along with the photos of the Trafalgar Square Mermaid Fountain in London, England and Clinton, Massachusetts’ Foster Fountain, have a deeper cultural significance than we may think.

Dr. Tracy’s photo pictures the graceful elegance of a mermaid swimming with a few dolphins. There is, however, more to this fountain than what one would see at first glance. This fountain was put in place as a memorial for Admiral David Beatty, who was a Royal Navy officer. He was said to have been a powerful leader and knew how to organize winning battles. Both Captain Ahab and David Beatty were strong-willed and knew how they wanted to approach these dangerous situations.

The Foster Fountain in Clinton, MA is one of two war monuments put in place (Boyce 21). This fountain is there to represent the Clinton residents that served in the Spanish-American War. The connection between this monument and the Trafalgar Mermaid Fountain is the meaning behind the two. Both are where they are to memorialize brave soldiers who fought for what they believed in. Captain Ahab did something similar in Moby Dick, going after the whale that stole his leg from him. None of these people stopped until they were either victorious or died trying. As it was said in Moby Dick, “I try all things; I achieve what I can,” and that seems to be what these soldiers lived by (Melville).

Knowing that they could only fight their best fight, Beatty and the Spanish-American war veterans were able to give all that they had. Ahab only did the same even if at some points he questioned himself. Even then he knew deep down that he had to fight for his revenge, no matter the cost. It’s important to remember those who had fought for what they believed in because without them we wouldn’t be as inspired to fight for what we believe in.

A smaller, but still significant commonality between these heritage sites share is that they are both fountains. This water that surrounds them not only connects to the Navy, which Beatty was apart of, but it also connects them to Melville’s Moby Dick and Captain Ahab.

Communities are brought together by such monuments and they “represent that community’s chosen method of remembrance” (WarMemorials). This type of heritage, whether it be across countries or throughout literature, play a large role in how we remember the important happenings in history. Even though these monuments have little in common stylewise, they have a deeper commonality once we dig deeper. It’s always important to learn about cultural heritage because there may be a lot that we’re missing when we’re simply looking rather than really seeing them for what they are. Without these sites, we’d have nothing to help us remember.


Works Cited

Boyce, Philip R. “One Hundred Sixty Fourth Annual Report.” ClintonMA.Gov,

“Importance of War Memorials.” War Memorials, 2017,

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. London, 1851.

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Molly Potter, Student, Fitchburg State University

Research Assistant(s)

Brooke Pelletier, Student, Fitchburg State University
Dennis Pikul, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy


“London, UK - Trafalgar Square Mermaid Fountain; Clinton, MA - Foster Fountain,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed April 13, 2024,

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