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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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emissary An agent sent on a mission to represent or advance the interests of another.

enervate 1. To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of: "the luxury which enervates and destroys nations" (Henry David Thoreau).

English Channel, the The Channel, the body of water between England and France connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, ranges from 21 to 100 miles in width. Historically, naval control of the passage has been hotly contested between the two countries. Especially during the time of Revolution -- i.e. the time of narrative of Billy Budd, the proximity of England and France fed a good deal of nervousness.

epithet 1. a. A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as "rosy-fingered" in "rosy-fingered dawn" or "Great" in "Catherine the Great." b. A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person, such as The Great Emancipator for Abraham Lincoln. 2. An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase.

equivocal 1. Open to two or more interpretations and often intended to mislead; ambiguous. 2. Of uncertain significance. 3. Of a doubtful or uncertain nature.

euthanasia The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.

evanescent Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor.

evince To show or demonstrate clearly; manifest: evince distaste by grimacing.


fatalism Generally, fatalism refers to a group of several belief systems that hold that all events are driven by forces beyond man's control. Because the future is predetermined and fixed by some other power, many fatalists believe that future can be predicted.

Fawkes, Guy  Fawkes (1570-1606) helped lead a group of pro-Catholic supporters in their attempt to blow up King James I and Parliament on November 5th, 1605. After the attempt failed, Fawkes, the man charged with setting off the explosion, was hanged.

feign 1. a. To give a false appearance of: feign sleep. b. To represent falsely; pretend to: feign authorship of a novel. 2. To imitate so as to deceive: feign another's voice. 3. To fabricate: feigned an excuse. 4. To pretend; dissemble. 5. Unfeigned:genuine.

fervid 1. Marked by great passion or zeal: a fervid patriot. 2. Extremely hot; burning.

finesse 1. Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship. 2. Skillful, subtle handling of a situation; tactful, diplomatic maneuvering. 3. A stratagem in which one appears to decline an advantage.
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