Narrative Collusion and Occluusion in Melville's "Benito Cereno", O'Connell
I remember the reactions most of the class had when we first read Benito Cereno. A lot of people did not argee with the racist tone that the story had. I had a feeling that Melville himself was racist. But I think O'Connell would disagree with me:
Melville opens his story by setting up the expectation that the reader should be wise and discerning, able to see beyond the allegedly innocent interpretations of Delano.... actual readers must be astute enough to resist the "temptations" of racism and struggle to stave off the seductions of the narrator and Delano's self-serving misinterpretations.
O'Connell mentioned that Melville betrayed the readers by hiding the true meaning from us. Nevertheless, it engages us into the story and arises feelings in us that is normally pacified. O'Connell also noticed that sentimental literature depends on the reader's response. I stated earlier in another blog that it is basically up to us to make great literature. Personally, I would not count Benito Cereno as great literature, but it is definetly memorable literature.