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"Dry Cistern" On Bartleby The Scriven.

1907 words - 8 pages

?The Dry Cistern? From 1870 to 1900, the United States became the world's foremost industrial nation. Overall, the nation experienced a stunning explosion in the scale of industry and in the pace of production. By the turn of the century, industrialization had transformed commerce, business organization, the environment, the workplace, the home, and everyday life. Herman Melville depicts the mechanization, dehumanization, and repetition of employment in Industrial America in his short story, ?Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.? The personality of the characters, the description of the type of labor performed, and the use of walls within the setting display the removal of humanity from the workplace during this era.More than three-quarters of the labor force worked in agriculture in 1790. During the nineteenth century, however, Americans soon enjoyed striking ?success? in mechanization. Melville?s description of the labor performed at the office that employed Nippers, Turkey, and Bartleby were employed displays the autonomy and monotony of employment during the Industrial Era. The rather erratic nature of Nippers and Turkey, whose "...fits relieved each other like guards" puts forth the ideal of consistency. Nippers and Turkey lived lives outside their monotonous jobs. Both men drank, which revealed a certain level of discontent. Alcohol served as an escape. The narrator mentioned that he ?always deemed him (Nippers) the victim of two evil powers- ambition and indigestion.? Nippers? ambition granted him activities outside of copying; he ?occasionally did a little business at the Justices? courts.? Notice that the narrator deemed ambition as evil. Furthermore, Nippers? indigestion is linked to ?a continual discontent with the height of the table where he worked.? This discontent of ?not knowing what he wanted? is also considered evil. Turkey?s downfall was his energetic emotion. In the morning Turkey sported ?a fine florid hue? until after dinner when he ?blazed like a grate full of Christmas coals.? However, both Turkey and Nippers carried on with ?regularity and undiminished glory.? They were isolated from the boss and from Bartleby. The two men completed each other; one dressed well, the other did not, when one was ?on? the other was ?off.? Neither could be deemed a man, but rather, half of a man; without one another, they would not have been able to function. Neither man was fully or completely involved in his job. Conversely, there was the isolated Bartleby.At first Bartleby did ?an extraordinary quantity of writing? he ran a day and night line, copying by sun-light and by candle-light? he wrote on silently, palely, mechanically.? The narrator was very content with his perfunctory work ethic. The narrator referred to him as a mule rather than an employee. For example, he said, ??Surely you do not mean to persist in that mulish vagary?? However, isn?t the work that the narrator expected of Bartleby mulish? Eventually, Bartleby...

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