Benito Cereno Themes | GradeSaver

9. Apply one or more of the following works to an analysis of Melville's

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville - Goodreads

A slave named Atufal interrupts their conversation,prompting Cereno to ask if he's ready to ask for pardon. Although Atufal'sweighted down with chains, he doesn't make an answer. Delano, who has lots ofideas about the idea of the noble slave, is impressed by Atufal's resolve.

7. The image of Africa and the portrayal of the slave trade in narrative and "Benito Cereno."

Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno - LibriVox

invites comparison with Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience,which casts an ironic light on the arguments Vere uses to have Billy sentencedto hanging. If teachers decide to group Billy Budd with the writings onslavery, rather than with those on industrialism and the oppression ofwomen, they can underscore the parallels Melville suggests between thecondition of sailors and that of slaves (a theme he develops at great lengthin ). The Black Handsome Sailor who appears in the openingpages of and incarnates the ideal of the Handsome Sailormore perfectly than Billy also provides a strong, positive counter-imageof blacks, offsetting the seemingly negative stereotypes presented in "BenitoCereno." Formally as well, the two stories have much in common andinvite comparison with "Slavery's Pleasant Homes."

Of course, none of this is revealed until the very end of Delano's involvement with Cereno

2. Why doesn't Melville choose to write the story from Babo's pointof view? What might his purpose be in confining us to Delano's and laterBenito Cereno's point of view? What limitations does this narrative strategyimpose on us as readers?

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part Two - VOA


Benito Cereno Study Guide | GradeSaver

Stylistically, I like to emphasize Melville's use of irony and grimhumor. If one adopts Babo's point of view in reading "Benito Cereno,"one is struck again and again by the humor of the story. The shaving sceneis one of the best examples, and I like to go over it at length, beginningwith the way in which Babo responds to Don Benito's slip of the tongueabout Cape Horn by suggesting that Don Benito and Delano continue the conversationwhile he shaves his master.

Benito Cereno (1855) – Long Pauses

I have tried to provide biographical facts germane to the stories inthe introduction and notes. Teachers might point out, however, that "Bartleby"draws on Melville's experiences of working as a clerk for a brief periodand also reflects attitudes he must have associated with his brother Allan,a lawyer; that Elizabeth Shaw Melville's debilitating pregnancies, as wellas an actual visit to a paper mill, helped generate the feminist insightsMelville displays in "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus ofMaids"; that Judge Lemuel Shaw's conservative views on slavery andcontroversial role as the first northern judge to send a fugitive slaveback to his master may explain the circuitous form Melville adopts in "BenitoCereno"; and that the suicide of Melville's son Malcolm in 1867 mayhave some bearing on .

Racism and Slavery in Benito Cereno, ..

I generally let the subject of audience come up spontaneously, whichit nearly always does. The students often infer--correctly--that Melvillewas writing for an audience linked by sympathies of class and race to thelawyer in "Bartleby," the bachelors in "Paradise,"and Captain Delano in "Benito Cereno." I then talk a little aboutMelville's social milieu and the readership of and .(The latter was moderately antislavery, and distinctly more progressivethan , which Lydia Maria Child characterized as pro-slavery;nevertheless, its readers shared some of the racial and class attitudesDelano exemplifies.)

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

The reasons for grouping "Benito Cereno" with other worksabout slavery are obvious, but teachers can help students make specificconnections between the slaves on board the and battle with Covey, between the African women among them and reminiscences of women's participation in battle, between the "true character" as a slave ship and Equiano's description ofthe slave ship that transported him across the Atlantic, between Melville'suse of the Deposition (and of the three appended chapters in )and Child's use of newspaper accounts at the end of "Slavery's PleasantHomes."