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Formative assignment 1

In 500 words, provide a “re-reading” of a passage from Herman Melville's “Benito Cereno.” For the purposes of this assignment, a successful re-reading will be defined as an interpretation of Benito Cereno that does the following: 1) skilfully introduces one or more secondary readings in the service of enriching our understanding of 2) the historical significance of Melville’s story, such that you are able to 3) explain the function of an aspect of the story, e.g. style, imagery, tone, atmosphere, plot, that had seemed mysterious.


We are chiefly looking for:

1. clarity of expression;

2. a facility for using ideas, concepts, and histories to bolster the possibilities of aesthetic interpretation;

3. the work of aesthetic interpretation itself, which will involve attending to words, phrases, syntax, rhetoric, motifs, and other aspects of the text to reveal their nuances, effects, and resonances.

Given the word limit, you may want to satisfy the third part of this assignment by saying how your reading provides suggestions for how to read a function or aspect of the story.


Style and formatting requirements:

  • Length: up to 500 words
  • Format: 12-point, double-spaced, Times New Roman
  • Student number at top of the page and in document name
  • Paragraphs: use standard-length indents for paragraph breaks. No line breaks. Eliminate the extra spacing that Microsoft Word automatically inserts by going to ‘Format’, then ‘Paragraph’, and tick off the “Don’t add space between paragraphs” box.


Please submit your response via Tabula by 12pm (noon) on Wednesday 18 November 2020.