evaluating Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor

Research paper evaluating Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor

Assignment: You will write an argument where you evaluate Herman Melville’s Billy

Budd, Sailor. Your paper must be a minimum of 7 complete pages and a maximum of 10

pages-excluding the works cited page- to be acceptable. In this paper, you will

incorporate at 3 secondary sources and 15 in-text parenthetical citations (documented

direct quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries from the secondary and primary


Billy Budd, Sailor is first published in 1924. The novella tells a tale of innocence as it

pertains to the titular character, Billy Budd. Billy is portrayed as an innocent character,

as this indication validates his nature as well as his supposedly egregious actions. In the

story, Billy is a sailor who incurs the wrath of a fellow sailor, John Claggart, the ship’s

master-of-arms. As the story reveals, Claggart is suspicious of Billy’s innocence and

envious of his charisma and popularity among the crew. As a result of his contempt for

Billy, Claggart falsely accuses Billy of treason. Critically evaluate the moral issues that

arise as a consequence of Claggart’s claim. This tale explores both religious and moral

themes. In addition, consider Billy Budd’s helplessness and the desirability of innocence

as it pertains to the eternal struggle of good and evil as manifested in mortal affairs

indicative of civil law and hence order. As you evaluate the proposed idea, you will

consider the implications of Billy’s actions, trial, and the concept of justice as evident in

Billy Bud’s punishment.

You will need to cite from at least three critical sources in your paper. You may NOT

search on the Internet (i.e. yahoo, Google) for your critical sources. You may draw

as many sources from the online databases accessed through the library homepage as you

like. Other sources, such as peer reviewed scholarly journals and books are also

acceptable. The idea is to maintain your idea about the text as your central argument and

bring in the voices of the critic as support and discussion of your idea. You want to think

of it as a formalized discussion on paper between you and the critics. While you will

want to utilize the expertise indicated in the critical sources, remember that ultimately

you must prove the validity of your thesis by incorporating direct quotes from the text.

Submission Requirements: You must submit via Eagle online the final draft, a

developed outline, as well as the secondary sources. You may submit two compressed

files: one file containing the outline and the final draft; and the second file containing the

secondary sources. In addition, in reference to each secondary source article, the


student must highlight each source so that the instructor may easily locate the

passage that the student quoted.

In addition, you will receive credit for partaking in the peer evaluation. Finally, all

papers must be submitted to TURNITIN. Papers that are not submitted to TURNITIN

will receive a 0 on the assignment.

Your paper needs to comply with MLA standards and must be written in 12 point, Times

New Roman. Please label the outline and the final draft appropriately. For instance, you

will provide your name and then indicate the document type: John Doe Outline; John Doe

Final Draft.


  • Failure to turn in copies of all sources with the material used in the essay properly and

clearly noted will result in an automatic 0 (zero) on the assignment.

  • Failure to comply with the minimum page requirements will constitute an automatic 0

(zero) on the assignment.

  • Failure to provide the appropriate number of quotes (20) or to utilize evidence from at

least 3 critical sources will result in an automatic 0 (zero) on the assignment.

  • Failure to include a works cited page or to parenthetically cite source material correctly

per MLA specifications will result in an automatic 0 (zero) on the assignment, as that is


  • Failure to turn in any other item specifically listed as required will adversely affect your



  • Use Times New Roman, 12pt.
  • Double-space.
  • Indent for paragraphs.
  • Use MLA style for heading and format: 1” margins on all sides, place your name, my

name, your class and section number, and the date at the top left hand corner of the first

page. Make sure your last name appears in the top right hand corner of the page along

with the page number, and make sure that the paper is stapled or paper clipped together.

  • Your idea should be central.
  • You must cite from the text in order to support your claims about the text.
  • Use MLA style to cite and document your sources: parenthetical documentation and

works cited.

  • You must have a Works Cited page with the correct information and formatting. This

element will be included in your final grade.


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