Lucy Lawless

Benito Cereno has three sources of narration:

1. A limited third person narration that divides in two:

a. Primarily, the narrator limits him/herself to the thoughts and perceptions of Amasa Delano, so everything is described from Delano’s persepective.

b. At times, the narrator demonstrates fuller knowledge than Delano has, even lightly criticizing Delano’s naivete: in particular, the third person narrator seems already to be familiar with the events described in the deposition.

2. The objective, impersonal third person narration of the deposition, which records (an edited version of) the official law documents associated with the case of the San Dominick. No particular narrator is associated with the deposition, but it’s obviously coming from some source. Just for fun, I call the seemingly invisible, un-identifiable narrator of the Deposition Lucy Lawless.

So here’s the question for you to consider: Can you name any aspect of Lucy Lawless’s account that might be inaccurate, biased, or incomplete? If so, can you identify a person from the story who might be able to provide a more complete, less biased, or more accurate version of that aspect of the story? If not, please explain why you believe that Lucy Lawless tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth, accurately and without prejudice. Please post your ideas in an original thread, providing accurate and precise cited evidence to illustrate your thinking, and explain the evidence that you provide, as necessary. 

Then, respond thoughtfully to at least one post from a classmate. A ‘thoughtful’ response will a) reinforce the evidence by pointing out other examples of the same theme and/or b) extend the logic by thinking about the idea: quibbling with the interpretation, considering the implications of the claim, identifying seeming internal contradictions, identifying fundamental assumptions, refining distinctions, etcetera. Avoid simply agreeing or amplifying another’s claim. Thoughtful posts must be original, and may not repeat posts made by others.

Read Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, pages 1526 – 1583 of the Norton anthology of  American literature 1

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