Huh?

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"'Benito Cereno' formulates its indictment of antebellum radical ideology through first structuring identification with, or sympathy for, the character of Amasa Delano, and later exposing the terrible moral, political, and epistemological implications of a willingness to accept Delano's premises" (O'Connell 186).

This is what I mean when I read and stuff usually just flies right over my head. I understood the part where Melville was trying to make it look like the slaves were bad and the enemy, but I didn't get the part where Melville created the story to where it made Delano look bad because of what he said/thought about the blacks and some of the imagery that aided to his remarks. Like usual, I understand only part of what I am supposed to get and I'm completel oblivious to the second half. Did anyone else have the same problem or did someone else miss this too?

I also think it was interesting what O'Connell had to say about the narrator for this story: "The narrator is a shadow figure in 'Benito Cereno' who operates in the background, stirring the pot and adding murkiness that appears unnecessary to the plot (unless a crucisl plot element is seen to be the creation of confusion, not just in Delona, but in the reader as well)" (191).I really didn't completely understand this either. Does this mean alot of the information we were given throughout the story was used more as a distraction?

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4 Comments

Derek Tickle said:

First off, this is quite a quote! :)

I saw a lot of the information in the story being used as a distraction because of what I read about the ideal reader.

As for the terms used in "Beneto Cereno," I think that Melville used words that were very touching to some people. This would mean that these words were something that people usually do not talk about.

But, now think about the publication of this work. It was first introduced to the public in the 1800s, so discrimination was occuring greatly compared to today. I think that this text represents the time period and how people were viewed.

Do you think that Melville was representing the time period in his story or was he demoting a race?

Katie Vann said:

I don't think he was representing the time period. O'Connell mentioned in her essay that "Melville, we can agree, is not on Delano's side. However, his narrator is" (186). I don't know if we can really tell for sure if Melville was trying to represent his time period because of his disagreement with Delano who was prejudice. Maybe that was Melville's time period and he disagreed with it, or maybe it wasn't. I don't know that Melville was demoting a race. Delano may have been, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Melville agrees with the beliefs of that character.

To paraphrase O'Connell here, how about "Because Melville first tricks us into seeing the world through Delano's eyes, we become part of the target when Melville exposes that viewpoint as limited and oppressive."

But my version just offers the gist -- O'Connell's actually presents a much more precise, more informative claim.

Katie Vann said:

I think I had another "Huh?" moment on that one Dr. Jerz. Sorry. I think I just need to read it more carefully.

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Katie Vann on Huh?: I think I had another "Huh?" m
Dennis G. Jerz on Huh?: To paraphrase O'Connell here,
Katie Vann on Huh?: I don't think he was represent
Derek Tickle on Huh?: First off, this is quite a quo