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Bartleby, The Scrivener Timed Write Essay

872 words - 4 pages

Bartleby, the Scrivener, a story of lawyer and scrivener, questions like: What is worth living for in the world? What does society to value or shape what it means to be successful or of worth in the world that is inhabited? This is done through various implications of Bartleby’s actions and responses, as well as the lawyer’s, and the descriptions and imagery of the environment.
Walls in the story represent the entrapment, a blockade of sorts to prevent focus from wandering elsewhere. Bartleby in the story shares an office with the lawyer/narrator but their line of sight is blocked by a wall set up to seperate them and is placed in the corner of the room, against another wall and his desk is facing a window that again, faces a wall. The set up of this environment clearly gives a sense of entrapment as every direction Bartleby faces he is met with another wall and must maintain his focus on copying, on working. The lawyer however, shows no sign of this being a bad thing he simply sees the sharing of the office as a convenience to be able to call Bartleby to run his errands whenever he calls and doesn’t even have to look at Bartleby, a separation of humanity or social contact. As the story progresses, Bartleby refuse requests like checking the copies or going to the post office and eventually begins refusing to work entirely but this is seen as simply Bartleby being odd and not as a resistance to work but rather there is a cause for his refusal to work, as stated by the narrator, his eyes were perhaps hurt and needed time to recover. As time goes on Bartleby still refuses to work and lives in the office and this bothers the narrator to the point of having him evicted from the premises by use of force, calling the authorities and having him thrown in prison. Towards the very end of the story the narrator visits Bartleby and sees him doing nothing but staring at the wall and has refused to eat, when questioned Bartleby simply says that this was brought upon him by the narrator and ultimately dies in prison with walls at every side of him.
The development of the story from the point of Bartleby looking out the window, to his refusal of working, to his arrest and ultimate demise in the prison represents the values that society places on its people and how those that refuse are dealt with. The values of working and making monetary gain are clearly evident but as Bartleby refuses to work simply because he does not wish to...

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