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Billy Budd Sailor Essay, Research Paper
“Billy Budd, Sailor”
seems to be an evil person; he has no remorse for any one.
In one scene of the story Billy Budd shows his courage by trying to save another sailor’s life. The nasty Lieutenant Ratcliffe sends a sick man up the mast to man his post. This sick sailor was very weak and could barley stand up strait on his own feet, but he was too proud to admit his illness. The lieutenant sends him up to his watch post knowing that he could fall to his death. When he does start to loose his grip Billy Budd leaves his post to try and save him. Melville is trying to portray Billy as a good man; he does the right thing.
A very common theme in American literature similar to “Billy Budd, Sailor”, is the theme of doing the right thing at the right time. Melville makes Billy Budd to be very morally correct. This has a large effect of the rest of the crew on the war ship. Even the officers are effected by his good doings. Because of his actions, Captain Vere promotes Billy to a higher rank.
Since I am not an expert in American literature, I might be incorrect when I a state that since this story was written, American literature has changed greatly. However the main backbone of this story and many other American literature stores are very similar. In my opinion change is not always a good thing. Maybe Billy Budd would agree with me, because of the hardships he went through after changing ships.
Reading this tale of a sailor’s life was exciting, especially for me. I have been sailing on large and small sailboats since I was in a diaper. I grew up on the water in Weymouth. My father has been a pleasure sailor for years, and ever since I can remember we would sail around in his 22-foot Marshal catboat around Quincy and Boston harbor. Although I did not live on a ship and have officers yell at me, and certainly never got whipped, I feel as though I can relate to some of the things that took place in “Billy Budd, Sailor”. This Story is about a young man that was sent out to live on a ship at sea. This boy’s name was Billy Budd.
The Story of Billy Budds adventures is an excellent example of what
American literature is today. The writing style, the way the characters are described, and the whole back round of the story is a reference to the American literature way of writing. I personally enjoy reading about old mariner tales at sea. This is mostly because of my interest in the sea itself. There is something about stories which tell a tale about the ocean and ships on voyages that intrigues me. Herman Melville greatly illustrates the characters in the story.
When Billy Budd is on the “Rights of Man” merchant ship he is the captain’s best man. Billy doesn’t know of any other life than that of a sailor. He is a very simple man, with no prejudices against any one or any thing. Orphaned as a child he grew up as a gentleman, and a man with very good work ethics. When the navy ship approached the Captain knew that they would want to take Billy Budd for their own ship. Sure enough they steal Billy away from his trusting captain. The captain warns Billy Budd of life on a navy ship. He warns that life on a war ship is very different then here on the “Rights”. Melville throws in a little symbolism when he quotes Billy saying, “And good-bye to you, old Rights-of-Man.”
Billy Budd doesn’t seem to mind life on the war ship. He gets along with just about everybody, except one of the sailors has to pick a fight with Billy right from the start. Later this sailor becomes a friend of Billy’s. One of the troubles Billy has onboard the war ship is understanding why they do certain things the way they do. A man is whipped but yet none of the other sailors can tell say why…. Cause they don’t know them selves. This confuses Billy, and he becomes curious. He starts to try to be-friend Lieutenant Ratcliffe. This particular officer
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