Billy Budd Test | Final Test - Hard

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Why do the sailors begin to gossip about what is happening in the Captain's cabin?

2. How do the lieutenants signal to the place that once held Billy's body?

3. Why does the Captain feel that Billy must be punished?

4. Who tells Billy of his sentence?

5. According to Melville, what makes sailors different from non-sailors?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

What role does the Dansker play in the novel? How does Billy view the Dansker? How does the Dansker view Billy? Why does Dansker feel the need to clarify the events around Billy without offering advice on how to cope with those events?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

There are many secondary characters in the novel who aren't brought to the forefront of the story, but have very important roles to play, nonetheless. Choose either Dankser or Squeak, explain how their character affected the progression of the novel, and discuss why you think Melville chose to keep that character in the background of the story.

(see the answer keys)

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