Billy Budd Chapters 9-11 Questions and Answers

Herman Melville

Chapters 9-11 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is Billy so meticulous about doing his duty on board ship?

2. How does Billy get into trouble with one of the ship’s corporals?

3. Why does Billy seek out Dansker to ask for advice?

4. How did Dansker get his nickname, “Board-her-in-the- smoke”?

5. What is Dansker’s first impression of Billy Budd?

6. Why does Dansker “take to” Billy?

7. What reason does Billy give Dansker for trusting in Claggart?

8. What is Claggart’s reaction when he realizes Billy spilled the soup?

9. How are Billy Budd and John Claggart completely antithetical?

10. What does Melville mean by “natural depravity”?

Answers
1. Billy once observed the beating of a sailor who had been derelict in his duty.

2. Inexplicably, Billy’s gear is in disarray.

3. Billy selected Dansker as a confidant because he was a wise and experienced old veteran.

4. Dansker’s nickname derives from two sources: a scar on his “blue-peppered complexion,” that looked like “a streak of dawn’s light falling athwart the dark visage,” as well as the boarding party incident at which the scar was incurred.

5. Dansker is amused by the incongruity of an innocent among the rough and experienced seamen.

6. Whereas most of the young sailors are repelled by the old man, Billy reveres him and greets him with respect.

7. Billy says that Claggart has always spoken kindly to him.

8. His first impulse is to say something harsh, but instead he makes a sarcastically humorous remark.

9. Billy is naive, trusting, and naturally good. Claggart is sophisticated, suspicious, and naturally depraved.

10. A depravity that is inherent to the person, characterized by evil that “Folds itself into the cloak of respectability.”