Chapter 2 Summary

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Last Updated April 25, 2023.

Billy quickly gains popularity among the men on the Indomitable, making him a beloved figure among the crew.

Billy Budd appears very youthful, and his face looks even younger than his actual age. This is mostly because his facial aspect resembles that of a teenager, or even a woman. Melville explains that Billy's innocence is reflected in his face. Additionally, Billy has a very smooth complexion that is almost as pure as a woman's.

After being brought on board the Indomitable, Billy quickly adjusts to life on the ship and is popular among the crew. Both the common sailors and the more educated officers are impressed by his attractive appearance. However, Billy pays little attention to the impact he has on others.

Billy shares with his new fellow sailors that he was abandoned as a baby and has no knowledge of his ancestry. Some on board speculate that some of his physical traits suggest he might come from a noble family. While he has average intelligence and a calm mental state, he cannot read or write. However, he has a talent for creating his own music and singing it beautifully.

Despite being exceptionally handsome, Billy has one imperfection, which is his tendency to stutter. During times of pressure or stress, he frequently struggles with stuttering.

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Chapter 1 Summary


Chapter 3 Summary