Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, is a novella about a slave rebellion which took place in 1799.

Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, is a novella about a slave rebellion which took place in 1799.

It was seen as pro-slavery and racist by some and as as anti-slavery statement by others. Discuss the reasons behind both positions, i.e. ways in which the novella can be interpreted as supporting slavery and ways in which it is against racism and slavery. Which side do you fall on in this debate?

Benito Cereno presents several conflicting narratives. One is Delano telling of what he sees happening on the ship, the other is the story of what is really going on (which the reader only discovers at the end) and the third is the fake, or constructed story. Describe each of those stories and relate them to the larger issue of truth vs reality. Why does Delano not see what is really going on even though he suspects that there is something wrong?

The plots of Heart of Darkness, Benito Cereno and The Reluctant Fundamentalist are set up in similar ways. All three present a main character telling a story which involves a second character. Marlow in terms of Kurtz, Delano in terms of Benito and Changez in terms of the anonymous American. Describe briefly the characteristics of the relations that all three main characters have with their counterparts. Do they share something similar?