Herman Melville Writing Styles in Billy Budd

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Point of View

The first-person narrator refers to himself as "I" and briefly talks about himself and his past experiences. He does not give his name and is not on board the Bellipotent, yet he speaks authoritatively about the events that take place there. The narrator has a limited omniscient point of view, which means that he is able to see nearly all of the novel's action, including some of the characters' thoughts. His admission of being unable to grasp Claggart's character - "His portrait I essay, but shall never hit it" - is one example of the narrator's limited omniscience, but it also contributes to the novel's overall depiction of Claggart's strangeness and foreignness.

The narrator tells of an experience he had as a young man, when "an honest scholar, my senior"

spoke to him about a fine point of human nature, and the narrator says of himself...

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This section contains 875 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Billy Budd Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Billy Budd from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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