Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Review of Bartleby and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Novel

Elaborate Description

These two stories have a core similarity, they both look at the eccentric personalities. The title of each story is the person of attention, but their story is written by their observer. Melville does a wonderful job at withholding the information of the reason for the eccentricity. Each story is leads into a mystery, with the background to be explained after the main situation erupts.

The main lesson of Bartleby is defined an adaption of circumstances. The way the situation is handled, each decision and potential consequence is provided. The feelings involved with making a particular decision and the responses to the conversation are detailed while allow the reader to empathize with the chronicler of Barleby.

The main lesson of Benito Cereno is a question of who wields power. With a captain of a slave ship who does not seem to hold power. Key information and behavior is provided but hidden. Expresses a clash of cultures and authorities.

Bartleby was fairly decently written, while Benito Cereno was poorly written. Benito Cereno requires the reader to read more between the lines as the situations are not often properly identified. With Barleby, the reader is lead to understand a difficult situation, but leaves the reader questioning the impact on the behavior. Benito Cereno’s background is more grounded. Building up the eccentric personalities is the best parts of these Melville’s stories.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  0486264734
Pages to read:   102
Publication:     1990
1st Edition:      1855
Format:            Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    3
Content          2
Overall           2