new_benito - Herman Melville 1819­1891 Herman Melville...

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Unformatted text preview: Herman Melville, 1819­1891 Herman Melville, 1819­1891 I. Benito Cereno (1855) and Slave I. Narrative II. Narrative Obscurity as Content II. Narrative Obscurity as Content Obscurity: obscurity in literature implies difficulty; marks of obscurity are an elliptical style (important information is absent or blurred), ornate or archaic language, learned reference or allusion. [first definition is “deficiency or absence of light”] Novella: a “middle­distance” category indicating a long short story or short novel; a narrative betwixt and between genres (established forms). third­person limited omniscient narrative: third­person limited omniscient narrative limits narration to what can be known, seen, or thought from a single character’s perspective. The narration is limited in the same way a first­person narrative might be, but the text is written from the third­ person perspective. free indirect discourse: In free indirect free indirect discourse discourse, the narrative hovers between the direct reports of events as they occur to a character and the indirect representation of events by a narrator. The narrator enters into the minds of characters and then reemerges to offer a more knowing point of view. To Captain Delano’s surprise, the stranger, viewed To Captain Delano’s surprise, the stranger, viewed through the glass, showed no colors; though to do so upon entering a haven, however uninhabited in its shores, where but a single other ship might be lying, was the custom among peaceful seamen of all nations. Considering the lawlessness and loneliness of this spot, and the sort of stories, at that day, associated with those seas, Captain Delano’s surprise might have deepened into some uneasiness had he not been a person of singularly undistrustful good nature, not liable, except on extraordinary and repeated incentives, and hardly then, to indulge in personal alarms, any way involving the imputation of malign evil in man. Whether, in view of what humanity is capable, such a trait implies, along with a benevolent heart, more than ordinary quickness and accuracy of intellectual perception, may be left to the wise to determine. (47) subordinate clauses direct our attention away from the connection between primary subjects and verbs. the conditional mood (identifiable through auxiliary verbs “might,” “may,” “could,” “would”) implies uncertainty. litotes is a form of understatement where an affirmative is asserted by negation, as in: he was “not unwilling”; his “undistrustful good nature”… Gothic fiction: 18th c. literary genre characterized by exploration of extreme emotion, the thrills of terror inherent in the idea of the sublime, a fascination with haunting or repressed histories, and often (in Anglo­American contexts) a trumped up fear of the so­called “mysterious rituals” of Roman Catholicism. In­Class Writing #1 In­Class Writing #1 Given what you’ve read of Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, do you think it fair to say that slavery has been *the* foundational reality upon which American culture is based? Why or why not? Does slavery create an emotional core for American experience, according to these authors? ...
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