Mojo’s Must Reads: Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of his previous two works, Moby-Dick and Pierre, Herman Melville became obsessed with the difficulties of communicating his vision to readers. His sense of isolation lies at the heart of these later works. “Billy Budd, Sailor,” a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation.”

   It’s been a while, but I have some time to write a quick recommendation. I recently read through Billy Budd by Herman Melville and I, at first, hated it. Mostly because it is one of the hardest books I have ever read. Melville’s writing style is extremely eloquent and quite pretty, but it is hard to follow, I mean, he spent a paragraph to write about someone getting a drink. But once I reread it again, as it is only about 90 pages, and I started to understand it I grew to really like the book. At the heart of the book, it’s the classic tale of good vs evil. But there is so much more to it. I don’t want to discuss it at length, as it involves spoilers, but Melville gives enough evidence to justify both sides of the argument. He really leaves it up to you to choose what you believe is correct. I think it is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be an english major. When you deconstruct Melville’s writing style, it really is beautiful. At the surface, it’s a bunch of complicated words and sentences that will definitely confuse you. However, when you read it slowly and digest it, it becomes a thing of beauty. It can come of as but show off-ish, and it kinda is, but it is a great piece of writing. That’s really what I have to say on it. Hopefully, I can post more later in the week. 🙂

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