Billy Budd Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In chapter two, how does Billy react to his new shipmates?

2. Why is Billy on the uppermost deck in chapter 14?

3. Which two characters are contrasted in chapter 12?

4. What nickname does Billy's older friend give him?

5. When does the Spithead mutiny occur?

Short Essay Questions

1. Which one of the seven deadly sins drives Claggart to destroy Billy?

2. Who is the afterguardsman?

3. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

4. What does Claggart mean when he says, "Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome does it, too!" ?

5. Describe Billy's background.

6. How does Melville contrast Billy and Claggart's characters?

7. Why is Claggart "down" on Billy?

8. What advice does the Dansker give Billy about his confrontation with the afterguardsman?

9. Who is Squeak?

10. Who is the Dansker and how does he help Billy?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the difference between reporting illicit activities and tattling. Which factors prevent Billy from reporting the afterguardsman to the captain? What effect does not reporting the incident have on Billy's character? How might the outcome of the novel be different if Billy had chosen to report the afterguardsman to his superiors?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast Billy Budd's character with John Claggart's character. Which characteristics indicate that Billy is the protagonist? Which characteristics indicate that Claggart is the antagonist? What role does innocence, truth, mystery and deception play in their characters?

Essay Topic 3

How does literature affect Captain Vere's character? How does the genre of Captain Vere's literary preference affect his relationship with his officers and crew? How do the ideals presented in Captain Vere's favored literature affect his command style and decision making process?

(see the answer keys)

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