Billy Budd and Typee
- Toward the stern, or tail end of the ship.
- A group of guns of the same caliber.
- The width of a ship.
- The way time is told at sea by ringing a certain number of bells on the half-hour.
- A sailor.
- A petty officer on a ship in charge of rigging, cables, anchors, and similar
- A long, horizontal pole used in extending sails, handling cargo, and pushing the
ship away from wharves.
- A strong rope used to secure a ship's gun in place.
- The side of the ship raised above the level of the deck for purposes of
- A device for winding in ropes or cables.
- British slang for handcuffs.
- A disk of wood with holes in it used in tightening the ship's rigging.
- One of the two-hour watches (period of duty for ship's crew) occurring
between 4 and 8 PM.
- The seaman's quarters located in the forward part of a ship; the part of the
upper deck in front of the foremast.
- The platform part way up the foremast (mast nearest the front end of the ship).
- GUN DECK
- Any deck on a warship that has cannons running from one end to another. The
gun deck is never the weather deck, the deck that is upper-most and exposed to the weather.
- A hard biscuit without salt eaten by sailors when all other food runs out.
- A short rope used to tighten the ship's rigging.
- The sheltered side of the ship, the side toward which the wind blows. On a sailing
ship, the lee side is lower than the weather side because the ship tilts with the wind.
- A warship.
- A ship's dining room.
- The third mast from the front in a ship having three or more masts.
- POOP DECK
- A deck at the rear of a ship raised above the level of the main deck.
- The ship's left side when you're facing forward.
- The officer who handles the ship's accounts.
- The part of the ship's weather deck that runs from the mainmast back to
- A wicker cane or switch often carried by the petty officers on board a ship.
- Part of the standing rigging of a ship.
- Any long pole used to support or extend the sails of a ship.
- The ship's right side when you're facing forward.
- A light sail, also called studdingsail.
- A rail running around the stern (rear) of a ship.
- A nickname for sailor.
- Either end of the pole known as the "yard" used to support a
[Billy Budd and Typee Contents]
BIBLICAL PARALLELS AND RESPECT FOR NECESSITY
Following out the Biblical parallels that have been suggested at crucial points throughout this story, if
Billy is young Adam before the Fall, and Claggart is almost the Devil incarnate, Vere is the Wise Father,
terribly severe but righteous. No longer does Melville feel the fear and dislike of Jehovah that were oppressing
him through Moby-Dick and Pierre. He is no longer protesting against determined laws as being savagely
inexorable. He has come to respect necessity.
He can therefore treat a character like Vere's with full sympathy.
F. O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance, 1941
THE EXPERIENCE OF CHOOSING
We may say that Billy Budd is a vision of man in society, a vision of man's moral quandary or his
responsibility; but its meaning is more general than these, and that is why it haunts us. So haunted, I find the
work not an essay on a moral issue but a form for embodying the feeling and idea of thinking about a moral
issue, the experience of facing, or choosing, of being uneasy about one's choice, of trying to know. Not a
conclusion like a sermon, Billy Budd is a vision of confronting what confronts us, of man thinking things out
with all the attendant confusions and uncertainties.
William York Tindall, "The Ceremony of Innocence", 1956
TRANSITION FROM PIONEER AMERICA TO COMMERCIAL CIVILIZATION
Billy Budd is an intensely modern novel. It is concerned with the coming of a materialist, commercial
civilization, rational and scientific, in which society grows ever more distant from the rich overflowing of
human experience. Billy harks back to a more adventurous and youthful America which, with the frontier and
the whaleship, was already passing in Melville's lifetime. Billy's type comes from "the time before
steamships," the significant words with which the novel opens.
Charles A. Reich, "The Tragedy of Justice in Bully Budd", 1967
AN ATTACK ON CAPTAIN VERE
It may be argued that, while both Vere and Claggart possess intelligence, Vere uses his wisely and justly.
But this argument collapses when it is perceived that Vere does not do what reason would suggest in so
dubious a case, i.e., jail Billy until they reach land. The real point is, of course, that Vere does not act on
reason and intelligence at all, but on fear, his intelligence, instead of being a guide, is a perverted instrument.
Such scenes as the confusion of the officers and the doubt of the surgeon concerning Vere's sanity make sense
only when regarded as putting into issue Vere's stature and ability.
Phil Withim, "Billy Budd: Testament of Resistance", 1959
CONFLICTS OF THE "GENTLEMAN-BEACHCOMBER"
In the role of gentleman-beachcomber, that is to say, Melville (is)... the meditative outsider, who at the
bottom of his heart does not know what world he belongs to. Instead of applying a coherent interpretative
framework to Marquesan society, Melville struggles with passionate impulses and moral convictions that
refuse to be ordered in a general design... In Typee the crisis of meaning is located within Melville himself: he
finds his mind radically divided between horror and profound admiration for the islanders, as it is also
divided between hatred for civilization and a frantic desire to return to it.
T. Walter Herbert, Jr., Marquesan Encounters, 1980
COMPARING BILLY BUDD AND TYPEE
CASTRATION AND CANNIBALISM
The real theme of Billy Budd is castration and cannibalism... After forty years Melville had returned to
the theme of Typee. In that book the young hero had extricated himself from the valley by a sudden exchange
of passivity for action. Billy Budd is fatally passive, his acts of violence being unconsciously calculated to
ensure his final submission.
Richard Chase, Herman Melville, 1949
[Billy Budd and Typee Contents]
We wish to thank the following educators who helped us focus our Book Notes series
to meet student needs and critiqued our manuscripts to provide quality materials.
Murray Bromberg, Principal
Wang High School of Queens, Holliswood, New York
Sandra Dunn, English Teacher
Hempstead High School, Hempstead, New York
Lawrence J. Epstein, Associate Professor of English
Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York
Leonard Gardner, Lecturer, English Department
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Beverly A. Haley, Member, Advisory Committee
National Council of Teachers of English Student Guide Series
Fort Morgan, Colorado
Elaine C. Johnson, English Teacher
Tamalpais Union High School District
Mill Valley, California
Marvin J. LaHood, Professor of English
State University of New York College at Buffalo
Robert Lecker, Associate Professor of English
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
David E. Manly, Professor of Educational Studies
State University of New York College at Geneseo
Bruce Miller, Associate Professor of Education
State University of New York at Buffalo
Frank O'Hare, Professor of English
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Faith Z. Schullstrom, Member of Executive Committee
National Council of Teachers of English
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Guilderland Central School District, New York
Mattie C. Williams, Director, Bureau of Language Arts
Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois
[Billy Budd and Typee Contents]
BIOGRAPHIES OF HERMAN MELVILLE
Arvin, Newton. Herman Melville. New York: Sloane, The American Men of Letters Series, 1950.
Gould, Jean. Young Mariner Melville. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1956. A dramatic telling of the story of
Melville's early days at sea.
Howard, Leon. Herman Melville. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.
COLLECTIONS OF CRITICAL ESSAYS ON BILLY BUDD
Vincent, Howard P., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Billy Budd. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice-Hall, 1971. Contains major readings, including essays by E. L. Grant Watson, William York Tindall,
Richard Harter Fogle, Charles A. Reich, Warner Berthoff, and W. H. Auden.
Stafford, William T., ed. Melville's Billy Budd and the Critics. Belmont, California: Wadsworth
Publishing Co., 1961. Contains the 1948 text of Billy Budd along with important essays by Phil Withim,
William Braswell, Richard Chase, and Ray B. West, Jr. Also devotes a special section to conflicting
discussions of characters.
OTHER CRITICAL WORKS ON BILLY BUDD AND TYPEE
Chase, Richard. Herman Melville: A Critical Study. New York: Macmillan, 1949. Brings out the mythical
and symbolic aspects of Melville's major works.
Herbert, T. Walter, Jr. Marquesan Encounters. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980. Considers
Typee in the context of two other 19th-century "encounters" with the inhabitants of the
Matthiessen, F. O. "Billy Budd, Foretopman," in American Renaissance, pp. 500-514. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1941. A good early reading of the book, stressing the acceptance theme.
Places Melville in his historic and literary context.
Miller, James E., Jr. A Reader's Guide to Herman Melville. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962.
Takes you through Melville's major works, stressing themes.
Stern, Milton R. The Fine Hammered Steel of Herman Melville. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press,
1968. Includes chapters on both Typee and Billy Budd. Good argument on the case for Captain Vere.
AUTHOR'S OTHER WORKS
Israel Potter, 1855
The Piazza Tales, 1856
The Confidence-Man, 1857
Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (poems), 1866
Clarel (long poem), 1876
John Marr and Other Sailors (poems), published privately 1888
Timoleon (poems), published privately 1891
BEYOND (Billy Budd)
[Billy Budd and Typee Contents] [PinkMonkey.com]
© Copyright 1984 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
Further distribution without the written consent of PinkMonkey.com, Inc. is prohibited.