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Herman Melville's Now Famous Story "Bartleby The Scrivener". Melville Wrote This, Just After He Wrote Moby Dick.

1091 words - 4 pages

Bartleby the ScrivenerHerman Melville wrote 'Bartleby the Scrivener' towards the end of his declining career. Melville, wrote Bartleby after he wrote his now famous book "Moby Dick". However, in Melville's time Moby Dick was not the hit it is today. Perhaps in Melville's eyes, his career as a writer was not going the way he desired. In order to support his family and continue to earn a living, Melville continued to write novels. It is rather common for an author to incorporate their own personal affairs into their novels. I find that in the case of Bartleby the Scrivener, Melville is incorporating his own feelings towards the characters of Bartleby and the Lawyer.Bartleby the Scrivener is a short story which is narrated by the voice of the lawyer. The story begins with lawyer hiring Bartleby as a Scrivener in his office. Bartleby proves to be a proficient employee in the beginning of the story; but soon he stops doing any work in the office by saying 'I would prefer not to.' The Lawyer, being a sophisticated person, tries to figure out Bartleby however cannot seem to comprise his behavior. Later, the lawyer soon finds out that Bartleby has nowhere to live; Bartleby stays in the office twenty-four hours a day. After several attempts to move Bartleby out of the office, the lawyer finally moves his office to a different location. Bartleby then ends up end jail because of his dwelling in the office where he eventually starves to death.Throughout the story Bartleby appears to be oppressed through the eyes of the narrator. The story takes on a pessimistic tone. When trying to decide on who the main character is in Bartleby, one must first analyze Melville's intentions of the story. No one can ever be a hundred percent for sure on whether Melville was incorporating his own affairs into this story, but we can make reasonable assessments based on judgment. The anatomy of a successful author, is an author who sells many copies and is rather well known for their superior work. Unfortunately, Melville's readers did not find him as superior as his competition in his time (Hawthorne etc). Whether, you find the narrator to be more important or Bartleby both characters are crucial; and the story would not have the same impact without either of them. In the story, Bartleby could be represented as Melville and his feelings as an author.Bartleby's sharp decline could be a metaphor for Melville's sharp decline. If you take Bartleby's past job at the dead letter office and compare it to Melville's past job as an author you get a similar response. For instance, Bartleby's job at the dead letter office was to dispose of letters which never reached their destination. Melville on the contrary, was an author whose aspirations are for his books to reach a wide audience. In a way Melville's, books, novels, or stories never made it to the audience that he wished. They could be considered 'dead letters.'When Bartleby is in prison, he slowly wastes away, falling apart until...

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