very, very sneaky

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"...complex narrative structure of "Benito Cereno"-- what might be called its "layering," a form in which two stories are being told simultaneoulsy: ...one is known only otthe criminal and to the author himself...the other is the story which is told" (320).

The double narrative given throughout this story as suggested by Chandler was drawn on another point that Swann reiterates.
Swann establishes the point that this structure has its political implications. The necessity of connecting both stories allows for the reader to see it it bits and pieces that shows the hidden story/meaning.
The first reading you see the structuring principle of the story is built around an opposition between Delano and Cereno; however, the revelation of the true state of affairs aboard the boat show the hidden story we see a consequent explicit alliance between Delano and Cereno.
This narrative involves the action which recaptures the ship and re-establishes white control and Cereno's story to the court emphasizes white control over historiography. The bridging of the narratives construct a connection between the two different worlds/view points.

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5 Comments

Erin said:

I'm glad you made sense of it. This reading reminded me of alot of the points and theories we developed about the work on our own, in class. I think this does show our progress as critics. We described alot of Swann said way before we read this.

Good observation, Erin. I agree -- you all came into the class with plenty of raw experiences that we've been able to draw on as we develop literary critical ability. I hope you are as proud of your accomplishments as I am.

Dave Moio said:

Does it feel like every essay on Cereno says the same thing? I'll bet I can predict what the next critic says about the work.

Tiffany said:

David -

I don't think that they all say the same thing, but I think that some of them do say similar things in different ways. This particular essay I thought hit on an interesting point using the mystery idea. Swann is showing the alliance between the two captains (which we have seen before) but in a way that many others haven't said it before (using mystery).

Denamarie-

I'm glad that you used this quote. It is interesting to see how the two story fit together and how (as Swann puts it) rereading will reveal a new plot that we might not have seen before. Great Job.

Denamarie said:

Even though I disliked this reading, I enjoyed the narrative structure Melville added to the story.
I think that having two different stories within one allows for the audience to not only be involved in one person's story and that particular perspective, but also we can see the hostility between Delano and Cereno.

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This page contains a single entry by Denamarie published on March 11, 2007 6:56 PM.

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