25 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2018
  2. allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu
    1. The document selected, from among many others, for partial translation, contains the deposition of Benito Cereno

      It just dawned on me! I've been reading this story wrong all along! Trying to find a way one way or another to equate Don Benito or Captain Delano to be a hero (one of my earlier annotations mentions the lack of a hero in the story), however maybe it is Babo! I villainized him, thinking poor Benito, taken hostage by the pirates. When in actuality, we are talking about slaves redeeming themselves from their captor! What a beautiful thing and truly progressive for Melville's time. This is certainly a concoction of devices by both the "author" and the "implied author!"

    2. “Faithful fellow!” cried Captain Delano. “Don Benito, I envy you such a friend; slave I cannot call him.”

      "This almost overwhelming superiority of the narrator over his characters also puts the reader in a privileged position, though with the unspoken but ever-present condition that he should draw his own conclusions from the extra knowledge imparted to him by the narrator."

      Does the narrator know what is happening aboard this ship? Or only the implied author? The foreshadowing used really only becomes useful once we know the truth, so does the narrator offer us any "privileged position?" Maybe I am the only one who didn't see the end coming....

    3. “But it is Babo here to whom, under God, I owe not only my own preservation, but likewise to him, chiefly, the merit is due, of pacifying his more ignorant brethren, when at intervals tempted to murmurings.”

      "As the characters cannot free themselves from their illusions, it is only to be expected that they should take them for unquestionable reality."

      Don Benito truly begins to act the role he was ordered. And similar to Captain Delano, who at this point is doing great mental gymnastics to avoid the reality that something sinister is going on aboard this ship.

    4. Don Benito faltered; then, like some somnambulist suddenly interfered with, vacantly stared at his visitor, and ended by looking down on the deck. He maintained this posture so long, that Captain Delano, almost equally disconcerted, and involuntarily almost as rude, turned suddenly from him, walking forward to accost one of the Spanish seamen for the desired information. But he had hardly gone five paces, when, with a sort of eagerness, Don Benito invited him back, regretting his momentary absence of mind, and professing readiness to gratify him.

      We never learn what makes any of the characters "tick..."

      "The first part of the novel reproduces letters which Becky and Amelia write to each other. The letter makes it possible to reveal the most intimate thoughts and feelings to such a degree that the reader can learn from the correspondents themselves just who they are and what makes them ‘tick’."

      The way we come into contact with all of the character is very situational, so we never are given any deeper understanding into the workings of their mind and emotions. This device is how the Implied Author is able to pull of such a surprise at the end! Because if we were to have any insight into what was going on in Don Benito's mind, the entire project would have failed.

    5. Benito Cereno been a man of greater energy, misrule would hardly have come to the present pass

      Benito Cereno is likely a man of greater energy, however If "the limitations of the novel are such that one cannot reveal a complete character, it is even more impossible to try to transcribe complete reality." We see this exemplified here and throughout the entire story.

    6. While left alone with them, he was not long in observing some things tending to heighten his first impressions; but surprise was lost in pity, both for the Spaniards and blacks, alike evidently reduced from scarcity of water and provisions; while long-continued suffering seemed to have brought out the less good-natured qualities of the negroes, besides, at the same time, impairing the Spaniard’s authority over them.

      "Vanity Fair seems bent on breaking any such direct contact with the characters, and indeed the narrator frequently goes out of his way to prevent the reader from putting himself in their place."

      I never really identified with Captain Delano while reading the first time. If anything, I empathized more the slaves who would wind up being pirates! Did the Implied Author mean for me not to establish a relationship with Delano? I thought he was a nice guy for taking all those rations and supplies to the ship, but I never had any great connection to him.

    7. Captain Delano sought, with good hopes, to cheer up the strangers

      "Vanity Fair has as the subtitle, A Novel without a Hero , which indicates that the characters are not regarded as representing an ideal, exemplary form of human conduct, as established by the conventions of the eighteenth-century novel. Instead, the reader’s interest is divided between two figures who, despite the contrast in their behavior, can under no circumstances be regarded as complementary or even corrective."

      Is Captain Delano the hero of the novel? Or was he merely good-natured enough to bring supplies to the weary ship and upon leaving, just happened to be the freedom Don Benito was looking for. Is Delano a hero or was he just in the right place at the right time? Is there a difference? He was thrusted into a situation he had no idea was occurring and responded with the well-groomed habits of a true gentleman of his time... but he also saved Benito's life. Hero, or behavioral role model?

    8. Sometimes the negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar offices with that affectionate zeal which transmutes into something filial or fraternal acts in themselves but menial; and which has gained for the negro the repute of making the most pleasing body-servant in the world; one, too, whom a master need be on no stiffly superior terms with, but may treat with familiar trust; less a servant than a devoted companion.

      A devoted companion! The Implied Author strikes again... As readers we really are so blinded by the action that we cannot see the forest through the trees. "The reader can only gain real access to the social reality presented by the implied author, when he follows the adjustments of perspective made by the narrator in viewing the events described. In order to ensure that the reader participates in the way desired, the narrator is set up as a kind of authority between him and the events, conveying the impression that understanding can only be achieved through this medium."

    9. Benito Cereno

      I think this entire work is a vivid example of the work of the Implied Author... ‘‘The ‘implied author’ chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; . . . he is the sum of his own choices. . . ."

      We know so little, nothing, of what is going on between the lines but the Implied Author continues on as if everything is perfectly normal, as he would want us to believe... All of the ship commotion that takes place throughout the text almost serves as a detractor from our point of view of being able to discern the reality ... and the dare i say... "Implied Reality!"

    10. Upon this, the servant looked up with a good-natured grin, but the master started as from a venomous bite. It was a moment or two before the Spaniard sufficiently recovered himself to reply; which he did, at last, with cold constraint:–“Yes, Señor, I have trust in Babo.”

      "The reader of modern novels is deprived of the assistance which the eighteenth-century writer had given him in a variety of devices ranging from earnest exhortation to satire and irony. Instead, he is expected to strive for himself to unravel the mysteries of a sometimes strikingly obscure composition."

      Is Melville giving us clues with Don Benito's "venomous bite?" Are we supposed to be looking between the lines here? Obviously, for the sake of already knowing the ending, it would be beneficial, but was that the author's (notice how I didn't say implied author's) intent?

    11. Here, passing from one suspicious thing to another, his mind revolved the strange questions put to him concerning his ship.

      Do we get unmistakable clues in Benito? Or is it simply irony and foreshadowing that do the job?

      "the reader does have to make his own discoveries, but the author provides him with unmistakable clues to guide him in his search."

    12. as if silent signs, of some Freemason sort, had that instant been interchanged.

      This seems to be a good example of the Implied Author who knows what the meaning behind these Freemason signs is, but doesn't declare it as narrator, or... "This simulated relationship gives the reader the impression that he and the author are partners in discovering the reality of human experience. In this reader-oriented presentation of the world, one can see an historical reflection of the period when the possibility of a priori knowledge was refuted, leaving fiction as the only means of supplying the insight into human nature denied by empirical philosophy."

    13. “Your ships generally go–go more or less armed, I believe, Señor?”

      This is a true red flag that these weapons are going to be used! It is a pivotal point in the story, because as readers we now hear the suspicious Don Benito asking about Delano's arms. What's ironic is that Delano doesn't spend much time pondering that exchange as much as he does others that were less exciting.

    14. negress

      I had a hard time reading this word and the male equivalent over and over, so I googled this term to see is there was anything remotely useful about its historicity or anything of the like. I found this sculpture/bust... https://www.wga.hu/html_m/c/carpeaux/negress.html

      Fortunately, the artist, Carpeaux, wanted to expose the horrors of slavery with its depiction.

    15. reconnoitres

      I thought this was French at first, but it is "an act of reconnoitring; a reconnaissance (OED)," which refers to making a military observation or gathering intelligence.

    16. “Master wouldn’t part with Babo for a thousand doubloons,”

      I love the foreshadowing here. I remember feeling uneasy when I first read this line. It is as if we can see Babo's lying eyes at this part.

    17. “Or else–give way for your lives,” he wildly added, starting at a clattering hubbub in the ship, above which rang the tocsin of the hatchet-polishers; and seizing Don Benito by the throat he added, “this plotting pirate means murder!” Here, in apparent verification of the words, the servant, a dagger in his hand, was seen on the rail overhead, poised, in the act of leaping, as if with desperate fidelity to befriend his master to the last; while, seemingly to aid the black, the three white sailors were trying to clamber into the hampered bow. Meantime, the whole host of negroes, as if inflamed at the sight of their jeopardized captain, impended in one sooty avalanche over the bulwarks.

      The ultimate dash of irony in the story... poor Captain Delano is still ignorant to what is really happening and has truly given in to his suspicions that Don Benito has ulterior motives. It was hard keeping up with the action in this part because as readers we are clueless too.

    1. the Text is that space where no language has a hold over any other, where languages circulate (keeping the circular sense of the term).

      translation/world lit?

    2. read (well) and no longer to write

      very true and timely....

    3. certain of the 'texts' of Holy Scripture traditionally recuperated by theological monism (historical or anagogical) will perhaps offer themselves to a diffraction of meanings (finally, that is to say, to a materialist reading

      is this to say Holy Texts can be interpreted differently/individually?

    4. is a text.

      is it anything else too? could it be?

    5. the work can be held in the hand

      I wonder what Barthes would have thought of holding text in hand via devices!

    6. Text.

      Still kind of refers to language...

    7. which traditionally is the province of none of them

      What is the "object" he is saying that these disciplines are traditionally not looked at with? Language? How does that make sense for linguistics?

    8. linguistics, anthropology, Marxism and psychoanalysis

      I wonder why he chose only these 4 disciplines specifically. This is Patrick O'Malley btw, sorry about the ridiculous account name!