Heavenly Charity In Bartleby Essay

905 words - 4 pages

In every workplace, employees do what is in their job description. Rarely there are workers who get away without performing their duties. Bartleby, however, gets away with it. In Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener", there is one character that refuses to do his work and yet he is the main concern of his boss. His boss, an attorney and the narrator of the story, isn't concerned with firing Bartleby but instead is aroused with his actions. "Bartleby, the Scrivener" can illustrate misfortune, growing compassion and a similarity to God.

Bartleby is a man who is in charge of his own life by having a free will and living a life of preference. His infamous line "I prefer not to" appears in the story numerous times. His choice of preference leads to the downfall of his life. Bartleby made several crucial mistakes that lead to his downfall. His first mistake was when the attorney asked him to make copies and run errands for him and Bartleby preferred not to do so. "At this early stage of his attempt to act by his preferences, Bartleby has done nothing more serious than break the ground rules of the attorney's office by avoiding duties the attorney is accustomed to having his scriveners perform" (Patrick 45). An employee is also supposed to do tasks in the job description and when these tasks are not accomplished or done correctly, not once but several times, it usually leads to termination. Bartleby is a rare case because he does not get fired. This in turn results in his second mistake. Since he was able to get away with not doing anything, Bartleby opted to take the next step and quit his job or in his own words, "give up copying" (Melville 2345). Quitting caused him to have more troubles than he had before. Bartleby then refused to leave the premises which gave the attorney no choice but to move. Even upon moving, Bartleby stayed in the building but was soon evicted and then put in jail for failure to leave the premises. In jail his final preference leads him to death. He refuses to eat and therefore caused him to die.

"Now we come to a crucial question. Does the narrator's encounter with Bartleby
bring him to a state of increased awareness? Does Bartleby, in other words, make a better man out of the narrator" (Emery 185)? Bartleby had a purpose in the attorney's life. He made the attorney open up his heart to society. In the opening of the story, Bartleby was nothing but an employee, belonging, to the narrator. Getting to know Bartleby more had intrigued him because he wasn't like his other employees, whom he seemed to know like clockwork. When Bartleby refused to do his work the attorney didn't raise a...

Find Another Essay On Heavenly Charity in Bartleby

Weak Authority in Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

1419 words - 6 pages behavior can be linked to the fact that the lawyer also ran from the office when he didn’t know how to deal with Bartleby; but he chose not to face the situation and be the authority that he was. The lawyer did try to help Bartleby in the beginning, but I see it as a charity case; and that the lawyer only did so for to relieve his own conscience, because if the lawyer indeed did want to help Bartleby he would have never left for another office

Why Bartleby Cannot Be Reached Essay

1816 words - 7 pages Why Bartleby Cannot Be Reached While Herman Melville’s lawyer in "Bartleby, the Scrivener" appears to have undergone a significant change in character by the story’s completion, the fact remains that the story is told through (the lawyer’s) first-person point-of-view. This choice of narration allows the lawyer not only to mislead the reader, but also to color himself as lawful and just. In the lawyer’s estimate, the reader is to view him as

Comparing Religious Archetypes in Moby Dick, Billy Budd, and Bartleby the Scrivener

2293 words - 9 pages " (New 36).  By aiding another person, one is doing an act of kindness to God.  Bartleby comes to the lawyer as a stranger in need of assistance.  But the lawyer does not live up to his ability; he does not complete his duty as a Christian.  He first avoids helping Bartleby and only after he begins to understand Bartleby's troubles does he give charity.  Even then, he "hardly fulfills the spirit of Christ's message" (Franklin 336), for he gives

The 7 Deadly Sins in Management

642 words - 3 pages is its counterpart: The Seven Heavenly Virtues. The seven heavenly virtues are composed of faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance and prudence. Faith helps us trust other people. And by trusting other people, it helps us be more secure with our lives and dispose of our thoughts of infidelity. Hope makes us live a meaningful life. It makes us dream, grow, and enjoy life to its fullest. It gives us something to look forward to

The Two Forms of Love in the City of God by St. Augustine

1750 words - 7 pages The City of God “Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.” (14.28) Love, in a present-day definition is normally a good thing. According to the brilliant St. Augustine, that would depend on the nature of the love in understanding. In his book

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

1363 words - 6 pages Loreto and resided with the Little Sisters of the Poor. There, she provided care to the families in the slums, cleaning them, feeding the children, and tendering wounds. Mother Teresa basically spent her entire life looking after “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” (“Mother Teresa of Calcutta”) In 1950, Teresa founded a new congregation, the Missionaries of Charity. It started with only twelve members, those including former teachers and

William Bradford versus John Winthrop

1320 words - 5 pages . William Bradford believed that God helped them through His bountiful grace, and turned the New England wilderness into a Heavenly Paradise. Some factors that will be considered include: how Puritan beliefs affect William Bradford 's interpretation of events, the representation of Puritan theology in the above mentioned text, and how Puritanism forms the basis for Bradford 's motivation in writing.In Bradford 's text, there are numerous instances

Charles Dickens' Hard Times

851 words - 3 pages more literally, to think but not live. Since Dickens is implying that the meaning and enjoyment of life cannot be explained by science, he is then also implying that not everything valuable – including that most valuable – is explainable by science. So, even if religion doesn't have a place in Victorian society, its values still ought to. This is emphasized by the switch in Gradgrind from thinking things like "the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist" (215) to, at the end of the novel, "making his facts and figures subservient to Faith, Hope, and Charity; and no longer trying to grind that Heavenly trio into his dusty little mills" (291).

Religious Transition from Roman Londinium to Medieval London

868 words - 4 pages In about 240 AD the temple of Mithras, or, the cult of Mithras, was built on the east bank of the Walbrook stream in Londinium (Museum of London). The romans believed that each individuals place had a “genius”, which the rational powers and abilities of every human being were attributed to their soul, and this “genius” was the gods (Lewis). Mithras was the god of heavenly light who was adopted to the Roman world from Persia and the eastern

Susanna at the Beach by Herbert Gold

1957 words - 8 pages Susanna at the Beach, by Herbert Gold, presents a tale of the virtues characters admire strictly contrasting with the vices for which characters are consumed. The characterization of the main character, Susanna, is portrayed as embodying seven “heavenly virtues” including chastity, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, humility, and charity. While the other characters in the story personify the seven “deadly sins” including lust, gluttony

The Holy Rule of St. Benedict and Cenobitic Monasticism

825 words - 3 pages those who lived the monastic life. His rule outlines the specific roles and expectations of an abbot and his monks, heavily basing the outlined principles on scripture. These principles were set forth in hopes that he "who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of Christ… with God's help attain at last to the greater heights of knowledge and virtue…" (ch. 73). This meant that those who followed the rule and lived a cenobitic

Similar Essays

Point Of View In Bartleby, The Scrivener

957 words - 4 pages scrivener, and he felt regret. Bartleby had opened “dead letters” in Washington before the lawyer hired him. These were letters that were meant to go to people, but were returned because the people the letters were sent to were dead. “Some times from out the folded paper the pale clerk takes a ring-the finger it was meant for, perhaps moulders in the grave; a bank-note sent in the swiftest charity-he whom it would relieve, nor eats or hungers any more

Bartleby, The Scrivener A Short Story Written By Herman Melville

2117 words - 8 pages “Bartleby, the Scrivener” is an intriguing short story written by Herman Melville for Putnam's magazine at a time when Melville was in need for money to support his family, shortly after the failure of Pierre in 1852 (Davis 183). The narrator of the work, who is also a practicing lawyer, opens with a description of himself, his employees, and the fact that his business has recently grown. Soon after, the narrator, hires an additional employee

Herman Melvilles Wall Street Essay

745 words - 3 pages . This is the ultimate charity a man can give but Bartleby still refuses to compromise. The Lawyer then literally moves away and leaves him there to stay. Bartleby is eventually sent to prison by the new tenants. Even in prison the Lawyer looks after him. He attempts to buy Bartleby food while at prison. Even though Bartleby has contempt feelings towards the Lawyer, the Lawyer still continued to see him while he was at prison. This proves that he is

Social Deviance In Bartleby The Scrivener

684 words - 3 pages against the base of the prison wall starved to death.           Bartleby is an extreme example of a character trying achieve his individualism in society and failing, with the price of death. The narrator is another  example of a character in the individual versus society theme who loses out by bartering what he considers morally right, extending Bartleby charity and allowing him to