An iron collar was around his neck, from which depended a
chain thrice wound round his body […] (52.75)
Since Atufal was
royalty in his former life, the fact that he's chained up seems particularly
"Answer," said Don Benito, still
averting his glance, "say but the one word, <em>pardon, </em>and your chains shall be off."
Cereno rarely tries
to assert power, but he clashes with Atufal. Why do you think this is?
[…] but poor Babo here, in his own land, was only a poor
slave; a black man's slave was Babo's, who now is the white's. (53.89)
There's a major class
difference between Babo and Atufal, but Babo seems to be more in power aboard
the <em>San Dominick. </em>Why
do you think this is?
Here Babo, changing his previous grin of mere animal humor into an intelligent smile, not ungratefully eyed his master (57.116).
Here's a clue that
Babo is putting on a certain kind of character for Delano's benefit. He's
actually a really smart guy.
"Master wouldn't part with Babo for a
thousand doubloons […]"
Aha, we see what
you're up to, Melville. Inverting the traditional master-slave relationship and
the crucial role money plays to it? Very clever, indeed.
There's naked nature, now, pure tenderness and love, thought
Captain Delano, well pleased. (63.152)
Captain Delano makes
lots of insulting generalizations about the slaves on the <em>San Dominick</em>, mainly reflecting his own desire
to fit them into categories. It's racism, plain and simple.
[…] the servant for a moment surveyed his master, as in a toilette
at least, the creature of his own tasteful hands. (77.233)
In other words, Babo
is sculpting Benito Cereno like Play-Doh. Little does Captain Delano know that
he's sculpting his character as well as his physical appearance.
But a sort of love quarrel, after all. (77.240)
Uh, is Captain Delano
really comparing Babo and Benito Cereno's relationship to a crabby couple?
Buddy, you're <em>way</em>
"By the way, your tall man and timepiece, Atufal,
stands without. By your order, of course?" (82.283)
Delano a) assumes
that Cereno has ordered Atufal to stand guard, and b) basically refers to
Atufal as a necessary object, a timepiece. Whoa, racism.
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