The Cruise of the (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Frank T. Bullen
Frank T. Bullen, a British seaman, eighteen years old. He has sailed from London frequently. He ships out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the whalerCachalot, for his first American sea experience. He is intelligent and is the only crew member to bring reading material aboard. He also is levelheaded and pragmatic, aware that his chosen occupation will never make him rich; he is nevertheless eager to steep himself in what he loves, the sea and whaling. A naturally curious person, quick to comply with regulations, he surprises the crew early on by catching a 5-foot, 35-pound fish. Along the cruise, he sights and hauls in a number of whales, lives through ravaging sea storms and infuriating calms, is horrified by the sighting of a Malay prahu with thirteen corpses aboard, and delights in viewing ocean phosphorescence and a “milk” sea. Reverent and temperate, he is a solid crew hand. He survives a harrowing ride on the back of a whale after his whaleboat is destroyed. His wonder at and appreciation of creatures of the deep and of the sea itself are evident in the quality and quantity of the extended descriptions and detail. He becomes fourth mate when Mr. Jones dies and thus is the captain’s harpooner, the promotion increasing his pay by a third.
Mr. Jones, the fourth mate, a huge black man who becomes Bullen’s friend and whom...
(The entire section is 814 words.)
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