Option #1: On page xxix we find this extract, taken from Hobbes’s Leviathan: “By art is created that great Leviathan, called a Commonwealth or State... which is but an artificial man.” Melville is revealing that the whale/Leviathan (note - the alternate title of Moby-Dick is simply The Whale) can metaphorically refer to a state/nation; he is also revealing an interest in the idea of an “artificial man”; furthermore, these two ideas are connected. Take one or both of these ideas; show how they can be used to interpret some passage or section of the novel. Your reading should reflect your knowledge of the first half of the novel - not the first quarter!
Option #2: Here's the question, which will form the base of your argument: what is Melville's attitude toward America, or what influence should Melville have on our attitude toward America? This reading needs to show some complexity: Melville has many things, good, bad, and complex, to say about the United States - you need to work with that complexity,and not oversimplify it.
Option #3: How can/should we use "Cetology" (the last chapter from last week's reading, which we haven't actually discussed yet) to help understand some other specific part of the novel? You should cite material both from Cetology and from at least one other chapter to prove your point.