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. Which famous character does the Victory's quarterdeck decoration commemorate?

2. Which character is described in chapter 11 as being "down" on Billy?

3. Which character remains cheerful, despite clandestine attempts of persecution?

4. What is Billy's position on the ship?

5. How is John Claggart's appearance described in chapter eight?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Claggart "down" on Billy?

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

3. How do ruling bodies on board a ship compare to ruling bodies on land?

4. How does Melville explain moral depravity?

5. How does the scourging affect Billy?

6. What is a mutiny?

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

8. Describe Billy Budd.

9. What changes the face of naval warfare in the 18th century?

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

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

How does emotional repression affect the development of emotion among the sailors on the Bellipotent? How does Claggart's repression of feelings magnify his anger? What is the consequence of his repression? How does Billy's repression of his feelings magnify his sense of confusion? What is the consequence of his repression?

Essay Topic 3

According to Melville, why are sailors more trusting than men who live on land? How does age and training relate to the trust Melville claims sailors exhibit? Why does Billy have a greater sense of trust than Claggart since both are sailors?

(see the answer keys)

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