Under the tutelage of Hawthorne, Melville developed Benito Cereno, one of his most compelling works, which Putnam's magazine ran in three installments in the October, November, and December issues in 1855, only three years after Harriet Beecher Stowe produced Uncle Tom's Cabin, a moralistic novel which incited abolitionist sympathies throughout the United States. Counter to Stowe's pro-black melodrama, Melville's novella, a mystery or suspense thriller, possesses some of the characteristics of a roman a clef, or "key novel," a work of fiction which disguises the names of real people and events. Viewed from the eyes of Don Benito Cereno, a callow aristocrat oblivious to the black race's yearning for freedom, the novel's complex examination of the relationship between
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