Bartleby and the Scrivener Walls and Symbolism
In the story Bartleby the scrivener walls are a main focus in the story. They are also very symbolic in multiple ways whether symbolizing society or religion these seemingly meaningless objects have much depth in meaning and function throughout the story. My goal in this paper is to discuss in depth the symbolism of the walls in the story Bartleby and the Scrivener.
Herman Melville had a very low view of society, and that man was best in a roughed natural and free state. The worldviews of the author are important because when attempting to examine the indirect symbolism one must understand where the authors perspective during the time of him writing the work is coming from. Herman was married to a wealthy woman by the name of Elizabeth Shaw, who he tried to support but was hindered by financial barriers and had to borrow money from Elizabeth's parents. This situation gives us insight on Hermans Melville's first hand struggle with free will. which is a main point within the story of Bartleby the Scrivener a Tale of Wall street. Just as Herman Melville had Financial walls that obstructed his free will to a point of begging for money, Bartleby in the story was a symbol of free will who choose not to conform to the financial, social religious or political wall to shape his being. From the author's world view bartleby served as a hero.
Bartleby was a young man with his life ahead of him who yet he chose to stay to himself and not to socialize with his colleagues. He preferred to stay to himself where he felt safe behind his own self made walls. Bartleby was a social introvert who detached himself from society. He didn’t converse with his co-workers nor did he have any friends outside of work to speak of. His past had no ties nor did he seem to have any family members what so ever. It was as if he had lived all of his life behind physical walls even though it was all a creation of his mind. His only history was that he had worked at a dead letter office where his job was to sort through all the mail that was at a dead end and could not go to it’s intended destination. Typically most of these letters were discarded and tossed aside. Just like Bartleby, these letters had no future nor purpose. Some authorities in the field of literature also see the dead letter office as a grimm reaper of letters guiding the dead also foreshadowing the death of the main character. “one more reference to the Grim Reaper arises – the Narrator comments on Bartleby's previous employment in the Dead Letter Office.”
The story Bartleby and the Scrivener a Tale of Wall Street Bartleby decided he would refuse to do anything that was asked of him walling off outsiders from his own universe. No matter what was going on outside him he was completely separate from all politics concerning the company who he worked for, he who owned the building he resided in or the prison which he lived the short remainder of his free life in....