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February 15, 2007

O'Connell gets sentimental

O’Connell argues that the narrator of Benito Cereno is unreliable and thus, puts us in a position like Delano’s. She also notes that the irony is overdone, which I agree with as well. We at first are led to believe that we know what’s going on and then of course, our suspicions are wrong (this is usually a good thing, but in this case, it make things all the more perplexing). She then uses dozens of other critic’s arguments to interpret the meaning of this ambiguity. These other arguments do shed light on the her argument that we as readers are distanced and taken out of our comfort zones, which allowed us perhaps to see the “powerful antislavery argument (193)” lying within the work. She compares the work to “sentimental” works like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which made me realize apart of how reader response it gauged. She did it herself by incorporating a work she already knew to further her understanding and maybe that is another tool we can use in accurately responding as readers.

Posted by ErinWaite at February 15, 2007 5:48 PM


I agree with O' Connell as well that irony is far overdone, and O' Connell is very effective in pinpointing irony. I think that it is easier to be a reader response critic because of the fact that these essay writers are readers themselves. Many of us already favor the reader response criticism because we are readers, and we try to interpret the literature in a way that we would like it to be. Do not be completely overtaken by the way that reader response is gauged, because there multiple ways to gauge a piece of literature in relationship to the reader and their specific judgments they make on the characters and situations.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 21, 2007 4:23 PM

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