Slave- Master Complex

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The New Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism, Wright


Literary Criticism--EL312

Okay, Iím still having a hard time with poststructuralism. Nevertheless, I think I understand how to apply it with the infamous story of Benito Cereno.

Wright writes about the relationship between slave and master. With a poststructural standpoint, Babo is suppose to be the slave, yet is smart and strong enough to be the master of Cereno as well. Thatís strange isnít it? Even though everything is against Babo and the rest of the slaves (the narrator seemed to be on the side of Captain Amasa ďHappyĒ Delano), it is obvious that they have the upper hand. There is a big difference from what the characters of Benito Cereno do and from what the characters of Benito Cereno are supposed to do. That I think is what poststructualism means, and as how Wright put it:

Literary critics are committed to the concept of ambiguity as product of an omniscient authorial consciousness.

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Do you think it is coincidence that every single critique we read about Cereno draws the same conclusions?

No, I know for a fact that this was a quality of Babo that Melville wanted us to focus on.

I think Wright simply could have said this:

To understand a work, one must ignore everything they already knew. We are but a drop in the ocean. Nothing one drop can do changes the waves, but without us, all the drops, the ocean will dry up.

That's what I saw, man.