A Reader posted a review at 2009-05-29 02:31:13.
I took pleasure in reading both "Bartleby" and "Benito Cereno," but for various reasons. Due to the fact that both novels are contrast to one another, proves how versatile Melville is as a writer.
"Bartleby" was by far a very curious tale that I would not have expected Melville to deliver, but having done so,the reader is contrived to question one's own moral obligation to another fellow human being. The absurdity of the tale made me want to read more. The desperation of both the narrator and detachment of the intended subject allowed me to empathize with the feeling of helplessness in aiding others, and even oneself when left with nothing.; not even a dead letter room perhaps.
"Benito Cereno" on the otherhand was; while slow at times; can described as an early, nailbiting, whodunit story. How Captain Delano kept going back and forth in uneasiness and pleasantries, kept me interested and always questioning the morality and motives of all those onboard the San Dominick. Who can one trust? Delano; represtenting trust, goodwill and charity, is forced to question his instincts, but continues on regardless; relatable and admireable. I enjoyed the prose as well.