Billy Budd Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is a "Handsome Sailor"?

A "Handsome Sailor" is a nickname given to a young sailor who is not only physically attractive, but also possesses extraordinary strength, beauty and moral character. A "Handsome Sailor" is a natural leader and well liked by his peers. There is no one race or physical quality that ensures that a man has this informal title of honor. Rather, a sailor earns this title through the respect and admiration of his peers.

2. Describe Billy Budd.

Billy Budd is the epitome of a "Handsome Sailor." He is a fair-skinned, blue-eyed beauty who possesses an air of constant cheerfulness and innocence. At 21, Billy is impressed into the service of the Royal Navy on board the HMS Bellipotent. He takes his new duties seriously, and is well-liked by almost all his shipmates.

3. Describe Billy's background.

Billy admits to being a foundling. However, his bearing and demeanor suggest that he may be of noble descent. His attractive Saxon features are compared to the beauty of a Greek statue, and indicate that Billy comes from solid English stock.

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