January 29, 2007


I can not believe the incredible feelings of foreshadow I have while reading this story. Melville does an incredible job at having hte reader second-guess everything that is going on by having Captian Delano continually think that something is occuring and then deciding that it is a trick of his mind. For instance, on page 501 Delano has feelings of "ghostly dread of Don Benito" and then on page 502 he "began to laugh at his former forebodings." However, on page 503 Delano's feelings return when the narrator describes them as being "Under a new form, but more obscure than any previous one...with less of panic than before."

Melville, ''Benito Cereno'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Now I know that these thoughts are not exactly a single quote to be discussed, but it is a feeling that I had throughout my reading of the story. For me, foreshadowing is key to keeping the reader invovled in the story and I believe that Melville has done that in spades. However, I think that there is such a thing as too much foreshadowing. The continuous back and forth between what Delano is feeling while on Benito's ship sends me reeling. I was always taught that when foreshadowing is glaringly obvious that it can be ineffective and that is should be more subtle. I can't decide if what Melville is doing here is ineffective or not. The presence of the on going battle for Delano to either take over command of the ship versus his feelings that something is just not quite right aboard the San Dominick assuredly keep me reading, however why doesn't he just follow his inital instinct and demand answers?

While I know the feelings of foreshadowing I had were wrong (I thought that they meant Delano was going to die) the fact remains that they did induce that something was wrong aboard the ship. I think that the use of the device was used well by Melville and that it was very effectively laid out. I know that it took awhile to get to the point of fruition, but I think that is part of the foreshadowing aspect. I know for me when I feel like something is just not right everything feels like it has been thrown into slow motion. So good job Melville! Great use of Foreshadow!

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at January 29, 2007 9:58 PM | TrackBack

I commpletly agree with your feelings, Delano should have quit second guessing so much.

Posted by: Mitchell Steele at January 31, 2007 11:23 PM

How about the quote that I used for my Benito Cereno blog? Could that little conversation be a foreshadowing? I think so, since the words Benito Cereno uses are kind of ambiguous.


Posted by: Valerie at February 1, 2007 1:14 AM

Maybe I'm just weird when it comes to foreshadowing, but I'm of the opinion that if you notice it too much - it doesn't actually work. I thought the idea behind foreshadow was to make the reader SUSPECT something, but not to make them EXPECT something . . .

Posted by: Diana Geleskie at February 1, 2007 3:56 PM
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