Professor John Dean
ENGL 2327 201
9 April 2014
The Good Samaritan
In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” we are introduced to a capitalist world, a capitalist world in which an economic system controlled by private owners with the goal of making profit in the market economy exist. The story is narrated by a man mostly known as “The Lawyer”, the “elderly man” who seeks God’s acceptance by his so called “kindness” shown to his employees (Melville1483). He only sees them as property clearly shown by the following words he uses “myself, my employees, my business, my chambers and general surroundings” (Melville 1484). He tries so hard to be good but one can see through his ...view middle of the document...
In addition, he seems to understand the guilt he feels by “conducting his own defense” (Dilworth 50). He uses Turkey and Nippers to judge his decision when he told Bartley to assist with the verification of the documents used. He does not seem to be very confident about his decisions anymore, as he now requires other scrivener’s judgments. The narrator tries to find out what’s going on with Bartleby, but he fails. He then changes moods completely and totally accepts Bartleby even when he doesn’t do as he says and answers “I prefer not to.” He accepts him because he does not want him to go to another company and benefit the competition. He says that Bartleby does not bother him being there doing nothing but that is not a sign of good Christian. The narrator does everything to “help” Bartleby even though he does not want to be helped. Melville’s emphasis on the lawyer’s Samaritan efforts to be good “seem to be a parody of the parable” (Doloff 360).
Furthermore, Melville’s story seems to have a connection to the “Christ’s Parable” due to a “predestined” Christian on the attempt of good deeds and “still fall short of Christ’s ‘divine’ injunction” (Doloff 360). The lawyer seems to have tried everything to be accepted by God but he still manages to fall short. He wants to be saved so bad because he feels guilty, and all that guilt is shown throughout the story, especially because he does not mention his name. He might feel ashamed of what he did, which...