Study Questions and Essay Topics
Discuss the behavior of The Lawyer in "Bartleby the Scrivener." Does he deal with Bartleby fairly? Does he succeed in helping Bartleby at all? Why or why not?
How is "The Encantadas or Enchanted Islands" different from a "normal" short story? Is it a short story at all? Does it have all the typical parts of a story—exposition, rising action, climax and falling action?
Discuss the issue of race in "Benito Cereno." Does the story seem to be pro- slavery, anti-slavery, or neither?
Suggested Essay Topics
Bartleby makes a point of saying he would "prefer not to" do something, rather than saying he "will not" do something. The Lawyer points this out several times, and he even begins to use the word "prefer" in odd situations himself. What is the significance of the word "prefer"? Why do you think Bartleby uses it?
Discuss the contrast between the actual "Enchanted Islands"—the volcanic humps of ash-covered rock—and the way they are portrayed in the narrator's imagination. Why does he think the ugly islands (covered with snakes, lizards and spiders) are enchanted? Does the narrator tend to focus on the nicer islands in "The Encantadas"?
Discuss the role of the narrator in "The Encantadas." Why is he telling the reader about these islands? How much of the story is told from his own experience, and how much of it is second-hand information, or even legends?
Analyze the character of Captain Delano. Why does he fail to recognize all the clues that the slaves are in control of the San Dominick?
Is the revolt of the slaves justified? Why or why not? Who is the villain (or who are the villains) in "Benito Cereno"?
by The_Great_And_Powerful_Ass, January 15, 2013
After her husband dies, the narrator speaks of two terrible things, which he should not mention, that happened to Hunilla. What are those things? They are buried in the semantics of Melville's writing, but: 1.) Hunilla actually becomes pregnant and has to try and have the baby herself because her husband and brother died on the catamaran. 2.) After she gives birth, the baby dies, and she is raped by men on a ship that boards the island. They leave after they rape her, leaving her alone again.
Not too long afterwards is when the other s... Read more→
5 out of 5 people found this helpful0