Herman Melville and Billy Budd
Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819 in New York City. He was born to Allan and Maria Melvill (Meltzer 9). Herman grew up in a family who struggled to make enough money. The family moved around trying to run a profitable business. Allan’s efforts to feed his family did pay off but led to his death. Allan Melvill passed away in 1832 (Baym 2256). Herman faced many difficulties in finding jobs during the Panic of 1837 and eventually ended up going on voyages abroad (Baym 2256). Collecting his adventures, Herman Melville used his stories to write poems, novels, and stories like Billy Budd. Melville became a writer and used elements from Romanticism. Romanticism is writing that relates to nature, individuality, and rebellion towards authority or aristocratic members of society (Reuben par. 1). It can be concluded that Herman Melville uses elements of Romanticism in his writings, as seen in Billy Budd. After the passing of his father, Melville lived in rough conditions with his family. Attempting to secure a job, Melville failed and decided to go abroad. In 1839, he went on his first voyage on the St. Lawrence to Liverpool (Meltzer 28). Melville later used his voyage on the St. Lawrence as a basis for a story called Redburn, which was his autobiographical story (Meltzer 29). After returning from abroad and again struggling to secure a job, Melville went aboard the Acushnet as a whaler. Melville was not a very good whaler and lived in rough conditions. Therefore he abandoned the ship and stayed with the native tribe who were cannibals (Meltzer 44). After staying with the native tribe, Melville escaped the island on Lucy Ann, an Australian whaler ship. Melville’s second journey was used as a basis for his first novel, Typee. Melville happened to return home and join the navy after. After he served in the navy, Melville heard many stories about adventures at sea, which he used in his novels (Meltzer 71). When he returned, Melville...
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