Two Years Before the Mast Style
Richard Henry Dana, Jr., interrupts his career as a Harvard undergraduate to become a common sailor in the Merchant Marine. Reading has damaged his eyesight. Throughout the book it is clear that he values his education and intends to return to it and worries that the prospect of more than two years "before the mast" (i.e., serving as a sailor), will doom him to a career on the water.
By the time Dana in 1841 gets around to writing up his memories of 1835-36, he has completed Harvard and become a lawyer. According to Wright Morris' Afterword, Dana's initial intent in writing Two Years before the Mast had been to expose the widespread cruelty that he and his shipmates endured, but he avoids the polemical track to create a pioneering volume about life at sea that allows readers to experience it vicariously in all of its elements. He does not...