Bartleby The Scrivener Themes Essay

Selfish Theme Analysis in Bartleby by Herman Melville Essay

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Is the narrator of “Bartleby” a selfish or an unselfish man? Defend your answer with evidence from the story. The narrator of Bartleby is not a selfish man. Instead, he was the type of man who tried to do everything for someone who was in need. He tried his best to be there for one of his workers when he knew he was not well. Bartleby was a man who was a great worker. He was a man who knew what he was doing and what needed to be done from him. He was extremely caught up with his work, as he had nothing else to do and no one to be with. The story changed when Bartleby's attitude about everything changed. The first thing he did was he prefer not to do what his boss asked him to do. He gave no explanation why but made it clear that he won't…show more content…

Is the narrator of “Bartleby” a selfish or an unselfish man? Defend your answer with evidence from the story. The narrator of Bartleby is not a selfish man. Instead, he was the type of man who tried to do everything for someone who was in need. He tried his best to be there for one of his workers when he knew he was not well. Bartleby was a man who was a great worker. He was a man who knew what he was doing and what needed to be done from him. He was extremely caught up with his work, as he had nothing else to do and no one to be with. The story changed when Bartleby's attitude about everything changed. The first thing he did was he prefer not to do what his boss asked him to do. He gave no explanation why but made it clear that he won't do it. The narrator was extremely caring. He could have been harsh, rude, or even fire him right away but instead, he controlled his anger and examined what was happening. “For a few moments I was turned into a pillar of salt, standing at the head of my seated column of clerks. Recovering myself, I advanced towards the screen, and demanded the reason for such extraordinary conduct.”(Herman Melville, page 315). another great example is, “With any other man I should have flown out right into a dreadful passion, scorned all further words, and thrust him ignominiously from my presence. But there was something about Bartleby that not only strangely disarmed me, but, in a wonderful manner, touched and disconcerted me.”(Herman Melville, page 326).

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Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener Essay

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Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener

 

      Herman Melville's Bartleby is a tale of isolation and alienation. In his story, society

is primarily to blame for the creation and demise of Bartleby.

 

      Throughout the story, the characters -- Bartleby in particular -- are isolated from

each other or from society. The forester's office, which can be interpreted as a microcosm

of society, was teeming with walls to separate the head ranger from his employees and to

separate the employees from one another. There was one large crushed-glass wall which

separated the lawyer from his sycophants (although he was still able to see their shadows…show more content…

For instance, when the Ranger decides to move his office to get rid of

Bartleby, because he can no longer stand the sight of him he has the movers leave

Bartleby's green screen for last. When they finally take it, Bartleby is left "the motionless

occupant of an empty room," an obvious sign of isolation.  Even in the vast wilderness,

Bartleby is isolated.  Also, Bartleby is ultimately condemned to the Caverns (a prison), the

epitome of isolation. He dies alone, curled up in the fetal position up against a wall of the

prison yard, which makes him seem even more alone and isolated than he was in life.

 

      Society (in this microcosm represented by the Ranger's office) is responsible for

the creation of Bartleby. Bartleby functions normally (part of society) when he first enters

the office. However, when the Ranger asks him to do something which he considers

normal activity as far as society (the office) is concerned, Bartleby refuses because of his

stands on environmentalism. Really, in the story, Bartleby is nothing more than the

embodiment of the refusal to perform these tasks. Therefore, the Ranger creates Bartleby

by asking him to do these rudimentary things.

 

      Society is also largely responsible for Bartleby's demise: Bartleby has his own

individualist ideas about what he should be doing (what he

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