Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Power and Resistance in Herman Melville’s Three B’s
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay examines three of Herman Melville’s shorter fictions: Bartleby, Benito Cereno and Billy Budd. An analysis and comparison is made of the forces of power relations and resistance between the main characters in the three stories. Foucault’s theories of power are used as a basis for the analysis. Apparent power structures such as law and military hierarchy are analysed, but the focus is on more subtle relations based on language, knowledge, conformity with norms, silence, capitalism and position. It is argued that, apart from the apparent power structures, one needs to consider the more subtle power relations and acts of resistance for an understanding in the shifts of power positions. The study examines how the resisting oppressed party in each of the three works of fiction ends up dead, and that on a first reading resistance may seem futile. A further examination of the seemingly re-established conventional order, however, reveals shifts in power positions, shifts that indicate instability in the norms of society. It is argued that positions of power are to some extent reversed in the studied works of fiction, where the dominant party ends up suffering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 29 p.
Keyword [en]
Herman Melville, Bartleby, Benito Cereno, Billy Budd, power relations, resistance, Michel Foucault
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91131OAI: diva2:630998
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(288 kB)108 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 288 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
Department of English
Specific Literatures

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 108 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 145 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link