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Bartelby, the Scrivener

Uploaded by cognetto on Nov 05, 2001

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville will be the story I intend to discuss in this protocol. I intend to discuss this story in terms of four literary elements: Character symbolism, descriptive passages, irony and the novellas theme.

Bartleby’s character can be interpreted in a psychoanalytical style. Bartleby has low self esteem, and isolation issues. He has chosen to take a standpoint of not really having one. He refuses to work, in a polite manner, “ I prefer not to.” This tells us that Bartleby may feel inferior and that he can not accomplish the work to the standards given. Bartleby’s disassociation issues, tells us that he is trying to pull away from society. Why he might be acting this way leads us to interpret that he was neglected as a child and has found that happiness comes in the form of the individual, or more probable is that society may have burned him before, leading him to the same telos as stated previously.

In Melville’s use of descriptive passages we can see how the narrator attempts to disassociate and isolate Bartleby even further by how he positions him in the office; “ I placed his desk close up to a small window in that part of the room, a window which originally had afforded a lateral view of certain grimy backyards, and bricks, but which, owning to insubsequent erections, commanded at present, no view at all. . . Still further to satisfactory arrangement, I procured a green folding screen, which might entirely isolate Bartleby from my sight.” The irony of exists in this story because the more the narrator pushes Bartleby away, the more the narrator is compelled to draw him closer, into his own life.

The theme of the story, I believe, is in not letting yourself become isolated from the world. I think that this story is symbolic for our present day work situations. In today’s society men and women are becoming more isolated then ever from the rest of the world. This working force occupies similar cubicles to that of Bartleby and are extremely similar in their unwanting behavior of work. This new work force is being brought in earlier to work and staying latter. They have no physical exercise and are caught in mundane repetition day in and day out.

In conclusion, I have discussed the story using the four literary elements mentioned previously, and have gave a...

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Uploaded by:   cognetto

Date:   11/05/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (406 words)

Views:   1893

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