In reality, Cereno, heir to a ship whose human cargo murdered the ship’s owner, lacked the reassurance of Spanish colonial hierarchy necessary to exert hegemony over his subjects. Before readers disembark with Delano on their San Dominick journey, they must understand that hatchet-wielding slaves, under slave leader Babo’s command, already executed the ship’s former owner, Don Alexandro Aranda. Correspondingly, Babo also proceeded to hold a number of Spanish officials on board the ship hostage as he commandeered the ship towards Senegal. So, because Cere...
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...e of liberty. As the son of devout Massachusetts Pilgrims, Delano grew up listening to the sermons of pastor Charles Turner, who professed that local Indians, who did not necessarily conform to Puritan virtues, needed Puritan “principles” to “balance” their heathen ways. Upon immersion on the slave ship, Delano maintained this religious philosophy as he desired to domesticate the similarly savage blacks surrounding him. For instance, after seeing the “insensibly...natural sight” of a “slumbering negress” breastfeeding her children, Delano felt compelled to generalize all black women as “uncivilized.” Thus, Delano viewed slave women as inferior and unimportant in his imperialist scheme of material expansion. At the same time, Delano exclaimed to Cereno of Babo, “Don Benito, I envy you such a friend; slave I cannot call him,” highlighting his vocal rejection of slavery.
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