This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Isolation And Society In Bartleby, The Scrivener

702 words - 3 pages

Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener


      Herman Melville's Bartleby is a tale of isolation and alienation. In his story, society

is primarily to blame for the creation and demise of Bartleby.


      Throughout the story, the characters -- Bartleby in particular -- are isolated from

each other or from society. The forester's office, which can be interpreted as a microcosm

of society, was teeming with walls to separate the head ranger from his employees and to

separate the employees from one another. There was one large crushed-glass wall which

separated the lawyer from his sycophants (although he was still able to see their shadows

due to the nature of crushed glass). The other workers put up a folding green screen to

hide Bartleby because of his hideous appearance, who was also alienated from the rest of

the workers. The Ranger and his employees were also isolated from the outside world;

their window faced a wall of trees ten feet away, with a sewer-like chasm below, and the

rest of the room was of course enclosed by walls. Other indicators of isolation are evident

later in the story. For instance, when the Ranger decides to move his office to get rid of

Bartleby, because he can no longer stand the sight of him he has the movers leave

Bartleby's green screen for last. When they finally take it, Bartleby is left "the motionless

occupant of an empty room," an obvious sign of isolation.  Even in the vast wilderness,

Bartleby is isolated.  Also, Bartleby is ultimately condemned to the Caverns (a prison), the

epitome of isolation. He dies alone, curled up in the fetal position up against a wall of the

prison yard, which makes him seem even more alone and isolated than he was in life.


      Society (in this microcosm represented by the Ranger's office) is responsible for


Find Another Essay On Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener

Point of View in Bartleby, the Scrivener

957 words - 4 pages screen, and demanded the reason for some extraordinary conduct,” asserted the lawyer. Bartleby makes the lawyer feel small, like he cannot control him. Tone is the style or manner the characters portray. In “Bartleby the Scrivener,” The tone displays interest, frustration, and rejection. The narrator is very interested in Bartleby because Bartleby can never give him a straight answer. “I would prefer not to.” is the only answer he ever gets

Bartleby the Scrivener and William Wilson

1442 words - 6 pages , while their peers thought that they were brothers. At the end of the story, William Wilson who is angry and annoyed with the other Wilson confronts him, where second William Wilson finds death. The main similarity of the main characters of the stories of “Bartleby the Scrivener” written by Herman Melville and “William Wilson” written by Edgar Allan Poe is because they both are described in the first person. I want to argue that the story of William

Bartleby the Scrivener

1759 words - 7 pages In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”, a story of “the strangest” law-copyist the narrator, a lawyer, has ever employed is told. The narrator experiences conflict with Bartleby when he “prefers not to” examine some law papers. Once Bartleby “prefers not to” once, he continues to repeat the statement on all request asked of him. This statement sends Bartleby into a state of tranquility, staying isolated in the cubical and refusing all

"Bartleby, the Scrivener"

932 words - 4 pages The lawyer, although an active member of society alienates himself by forming walls from his own egotistical and materialistic character. The story of "Bartleby the Scrivener" is told from the limited first person point of view of the lawyer, or narrator. This point of view allows the ego and materialism of the narrator to influence how the reader perceives the story. The lawyer points out; "All who know me consider me an eminently safe man

Bartleby The Scrivener

1176 words - 5 pages emotional isolation and physical confinement.Primarily, capitalistic society ostracizes Bartleby who dares to challenge the authority and express his outright will. The story is set at Wall Street, the financial center of the United States, in the 1850s, during which the country was experiencing an economic surge due to mass migration and British investment. Alongside with the economic growth was the inclination to a capitalistic society, in which

"Bartleby the Scrivener"

893 words - 4 pages to figure out why Bartleby is not doing his work. He moves his office because Bartleby refuses to leave since he seems to have nowhere else to go. Eventually Bartleby ends up in jail because he refuses to leave the office. The lawyer goes to visit him and tries to help him out once again, but Bartleby is dead by his second visit.Bartleby was made a "loser" by the society he lives in and the horrid job he worked. This oppressed pale man gives up on

Bartleby The Scrivener

2020 words - 8 pages employer, he is abandoned, not only by his employer but also by his fellow employees. He is, in a sense, cast out of society. "Yet, his employer cannot help feeling sympathy for him; his friendlessness, loneliness, solitude, and terrible isolation are a melancholy and pitiful sight" (Hoffman 109).The new tenants of the old office building forces Bartleby further out of society and into prison, a place that confined and isolated him to a greater

Bartleby The Scrivener

735 words - 3 pages The Walls Surrounding Bartleby Walls can separate and isolate people from the world. They can be physical walls that are around a person, or they can be figurative in the sense that a person can put walls around themselves, their lives, and their feelings. Herman Melville?s short story, ?Bartleby the Scrivener,? uses walls as symbols to show how the main character Bartleby is physically and mentally isolated with a lack of communication from the

“Bartleby, the Scrivener”

660 words - 3 pages In the short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” which was written by Herman Melville, the character named Bartleby is a very odd, yet interesting individual. In the story, Bartleby is introduced when he responds to a job opening at the narrator’s office. Although there is no background information given about him, it becomes very apparent that he will be the antagonist in this story. Unlike the usual image put on the antagonist, Bartleby causes

Bartleby, the Scrivener

1441 words - 6 pages those who follow the government or other system, voting, but not doing. To fix a wrong in the community, the community must passively resist the needs of the system and find time to act in a way to fight an unjust action. Works Cited Melville, Herman. "Bartleby, the Scrivener." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. Shorter 8 ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2012. 112-19. Print. Teresa, Mother. "“Being Unwanted

Bartleby the Scrivener

941 words - 4 pages The story begins with an elderly lawyer, whose business picks up to the point where he needs to hire a third scrivener. Nippers and Turkey, his current scriveners, are overworked and have serious health issues; Nippers suffers from stomach problems, and Turkey is an alcoholic. Enter Bartleby, the dreary, desolate, “forlorn-looking” applicant. For whatever reason, the lawyer hires Bartleby. In the beginning Bartleby’s production and work are

Similar Essays

"Bartleby, The Scrivener": Man Against Society

737 words - 3 pages Man versus society is the ideal theme of Herman Melville's incredible short story "Bartleby, The Scrivener". Bartleby, a copyist employed in the narrator's shop, stands different among all the workers. He is ghostly, uncommunicative, and repetitive. It appears as though Bartleby and Wall Street, the society he is in, cannot exist together.Bartleby is first introduced to us when he shows up for work, "In answer to my advertisement, a motionless

Allusions In Bartleby The Scrivener Essay

660 words - 3 pages In “Bartleby, the Scrivener” the author, Herman Melville, uses indirect references to hint to many historical, literary, and biblical events. “Bartleby, the Scrivener” contains many allusions about important events that help connect this fictional story to actual events in Melville’s time period, before, and beyond. Melville uses allusions frequently throughout “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to help build connections with the real world and the

Social Deviance In Bartleby The Scrivener

684 words - 3 pages continue his way of life; in exchange for what society considers right: the perpetuation and profit of his business, his professional standing.  In the end they are both the losers.  In a broader sense Melville is making the point that industrialization is stripping away our morals, breeding a society based on the self-centered individual.            Melville, Herman.  "Bartleby, the Scrivener."  The Norton Anthology of American Literature.  Ed. Nina Baym et al.  4th ed.  New York:  W.W. Norton and Company,  1995.  1048.  

Bartleby The Scrivener, Symbolism And Walls

1158 words - 5 pages 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