Melville scholars also acknowledge the huge number of parallels between White-Jacket and Billy Budd and view the former as a rich source for possible interpretations of the latter. Due to a ship-wide rationing of tar, however, White-Jacket is forever denied his wish to tar the exterior of his coat and thus waterproof it.
The long quietus of thirty years that followed was unbroken save by two ventures into poetry: It is somewhat surprising, therefore, to find literary aspiration still latent in the former author who, nearing his biblical allotment of years, emerged from the New York Custom House in It is still more surprising that for his swan song he turned back once more to prose and to his first chosen and best milieu, the sea.
Billy Budd In the Novella Billy Budd, the main character, Billy, was forced into the Royal Navy as a young adult. Because of Billy's good looks and his nickname "the handsome soldier", many people adore him and look up to him. These are topics on which you can write a substantial analytical paper. They are designed to test your understanding of major themes and details from the play as a whole. Following the topics are. Sep 02, · SOURCE: “The Genesis of Billy Budd,” in American Literature, Vol. XII, No. 3, November, , pp. – [In the following essay, Anderson traces the origin of Billy Budd.
But now the harassed artist of the fifties had made his peace with ambition. Billy Budd, Foretopman, was the child of his old age, completed less than six months before his death. Several facts in the record of these last years witness this nostalgia for his seafaring days.
The first use that Melville made of the leisure afforded by his retirement was to collect some sea pieces he had been writing during the past ten years, add a few new ones, and issue them in as a slender poetic offering entitled John Marr and Other Sailors, in a privately printed edition of twenty-five copies.
The prose introduction, setting forth the career and old age of the fictitious sailor, seems but thinly disguised autobiography. No one liked to listen to his garrulous reminiscences of old shipmates: Chase had actually been his shipmate as well as the hero of White-Jacket. The scene is laid in the momentous year ofmade memorable by the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in April and May, which had come near crippling the British fleet at the very outset of the Napoleonic Wars.
Some of the much needed reforms had been accomplished by the Great Mutiny, according to Melville, but among the abuses that remained was the traditionally sanctioned practice of impressment.
With discontent still lurking and the officers apprehensive, H. Indomitable set sail to join the Mediterranean fleet in the summer of Lacking her full complement of men, she stopped a homeward-bound English merchantman, the Rights-of-Man, and impressed for services as a foretopman Billy Budd, a handsome young sailor of twenty-one.
After junction with the fleet had been effected, the Indomitable was dispatched on scouting duty, not only because of her superior sailing qualities but because of the reputation as a prompt disciplinarian of her commander, Edward Fairfax Vere. During one of these expeditions, at her furthest remove from the Mediterranean station, word reached the captain of discontent among the impressed seamen and of an incipient mutiny led by Billy Budd.
A drumhead court was called forthwith. The extraordinary character of the accused and of his offense urged delay and even clemency, but the insecurity of discipline since the Great Mutiny demanded the immediate application of the severest punishment.
Consequently, the next morning at sunrise Billy Budd was hanged from the yardarm. After a desperate engagement, in which Captain Vere was killed, the enemy ship was captured.
What can be said of the accuracy of Melville's historical frame? There was no ship in the Royal Navy at this period named the Indomitable. Two circumstances seem to point to the last named as the original of Melville's Indomitable. For early injust about the time of Billy Budd's impressment from the Rights-of-Man, the Indefatigable had fallen in with a ship named les Droits de l'Homme though it was a French rather than an English vessel.
Likewise, none of the names that Melville gives to his officers appear in the lists of the period, but a model may be suggested for one of them, Captain Edward Fairfax Vere. Since he plays a leading role as Billy Budd's commander and executioner, not only is he fully described but his naval career is detailed.
According to Melville, he had seen considerable service, had been in various engagements, and had distinguished himself as a good officer, strict disciplinarian, and intrepid fighter.
A contemporary biographical sketch not only assigns the same general traits of character to Fairfax that Melville assigns to Vere, but particularizes a strikingly similar career during the American Revolution. As a lieutenant in command of the cutter Alert, Fairfax captured the French lugger Coureur inand was promoted to the rank of post captain, frigate Tartar, January 12,remaining on the West Indian station till the close of the war: It is historically true that even the rigorous manner in which the Great Mutiny had been put down in April and May,had not entirely cured the disaffection in the Royal Navy, for the evil of impressment, one of the principal complaints, had not been remedied.
One historical clue remains to be investigated.
At the conclusion of his story Melville makes reference to what purports to be a contemporary account of the actual mutiny in which his hero was implicated: An extensive search for the authority here cited has proved unavailing. But, knowing the author's penchant for working from sources, he re-examines the text for less obvious clues.
Melville habitually took his setting from one source and the substance of his narrative from another. The framework of Billy Budd has been shown to fit reasonably well into British naval history.
But what of the story itself? For Billy Budd is not merely the account of a threatened mutiny; it is a psychological analysis of characters in which outward event serves the simple purpose of machinery.
As master-at-arms, in charge of the ship's discipline, it was an easy matter for him to lay a trap for the guileless Billy and have him brought up for trial as the leader in a mutinous conspiracy. The final upshot of this villainy was that the Handsome Sailor, though entirely innocent of the mutiny charged against him, suffered an ignominious death by hanging from the yardarm.
No materials for such a story can be found in any of the voluminous records of the Great Mutiny of In deciding the fate of the young foretopman, the drumhead court was instructed by Captain Vere that the exigencies of naval discipline must take precedence over all humanitarian considerations.The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus.
Billy Budd, Sailor (Radio Theatre) [Focus on the Family] on vetconnexx.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Listeners will be captivated by this moving tale of good versus evil through the life of winsome young sailor Billy Budd.
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Billy Budd Herman Melville Billy Budd literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Billy Budd.
Essays and criticism on Herman Melville's Billy Budd - Billy Budd, Herman Melville. Critical Essays Purpose of Billy Budd. Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List. In the last chapter, Melville reveals Billy's immortality. His fellow sailors, moved by a face that never sneered or revealed vileness of heart, raise Billy to the level of legend and saint.
One from his own watch is so influenced by his sad tale that he. Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays.
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