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

Herman Melville's Bartlevy, The Scrivener Essay

1286 words - 6 pages

“Bartleby, the Scrivener”, is both intriguing and complex. This short story written in the first person sense by Herman Melville, introduces the character of a no-name lawyer who serves as the narrator of the story. This lawyer is perplexed by an employed scrivener working in his office named, Bartleby. It is interesting to look at the relationship that the lawyer has to Bartleby both psychologically and emotionally.
While the narrator seems unsuccessful in understanding the importance of the different aspects of his other employees lives, he appears to connect to Bartleby on some levels and succeeds in accurately conveying the environment, emotions and actions throughout his story. This in time leads to several notable similarities between the lawyer and the scrivener, Bartleby.
On the surface one may not realize the similarities of the characters in this story, but it is those similarities that the main characters have to one another that make the story interesting. Furthermore one can speculate that the lawyer that Melville has as the narrator for the story, is in character with Melville himself. The characters of Nippers and Turkey were similar in that they worked in the same office and had similar traits that the narrator did not admire. Comparisons of Nippers and Turkey can be seen in that their productivity basically is a mirror image of each other, with Turkey being productive in the morning and Nippers being useless. In the afternoon it is said that while Nippers is productive, Turkey is drunk. The narrator thought them to be lazy and unmotivated. However, it is the relationship of the new employee Bartleby, to his lawyer employer that we will compare.
Upon his first coming to work for the lawyer, Bartleby appeared hard working and diligent, but soon became comfortable with the situation and took advantage of it. The narrator sees a lot of his own character traits in the life of Bartleby. In a careful analysis of this story, Melville is thorough in his ability to paint a picture with his use of imagery to show that these two characters lacked a real purpose or significance in their lives. Both individuals felt that their lives were void of anything really meaningful. The reader sees the gullibility of the lawyer in a sort of co-dependent relationship with Bartleby.
Parallels of the character, personality and life style of these two individuals show how Bartleby is a direct representation of the narrator. Bartleby is a type of literary doubling or doppelganger to the lawyer. Doppelganger is often defined as a twin, shadow or a mirror image of a protagonist (Bovatasan). Doubling or this type of doppelganger by this definition is a reoccurring theme throughout this work. The reader begins to see that Bartleby is really a projection of the narrator himself. As a sort of psychological extension of the narrator, Bartleby becomes linked to the narrator so much so, that the fate of Bartley becomes the lawyer’s self-worth.
...

Find Another Essay On Herman Melville's Bartlevy, the Scrivener

Comparing Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Herman Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener

1022 words - 5 pages When we examine the excerpt by Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man” and the story “Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” by Herman Melville we see how they both explore isolation, but in different ways. Similarly, they are both solitary characters where Bartleby seems to choose this situation; the Invisible Man has this status thrust on him by society. Where the Invisible Man seems to go from violence to acceptance, the opposite

Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener Essay

554 words - 2 pages The extremely simplified definition of civil disobedience given by Webster’s Dictionary is “nonviolent opposition to a law through refusal to comply with it, on grounds of conscience.” Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience” and Martin Luther King in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” both argue that laws thought of as unjust in one’s mind should not be adhered to. In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby,” a man named Bartleby is thought of by many to be

Herman Melville's now famous story "Bartleby the Scrivener". Melville wrote this, just after he wrote Moby Dick

1091 words - 4 pages . This only supports Melville's beliefs in transcendentalism. If Bartleby had no place in society, than perhaps Melville also felt that his place in society was diminishing.I find that in the case of Bartleby the Scrivener, Melville is incorporating his own feelings towards the characters of Bartleby and the Lawyer. In Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville tries to relate the reader to his declining situation as a writer. He uses the narrator as

Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener": Humorous or Tragic?

943 words - 4 pages If ever there are two opposite themes offered in the telling of one tale, it is in Herman Melville's short story, "Bartleby the Scrivener". As his perspective swings between the objective and subjective, so swings the theme from comedy to tragedy. Regardless of the two perspectives from which Herman Melville relates the story of Bartleby, the telling of a tragic story with humorous subjectivity, the story's plot and outcome determines the

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

980 words - 4 pages Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville Herman Melville, an American novelist and major literary figure explored psychological themes in many of his works. Herman Melville was born in 1819 in New York City into an established merchant family. The family's fortune had taken a decline that led to bankruptcy and caused insanity to enter into his father's Life. Through his writing, Melville recreated a part of life that

"Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville

696 words - 3 pages Have you ever tried to provide help for someone who refused it at the end? There is no doubt that the help becomes meaningless, even though the person is really eager to give a hand. In the short story "Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville, the narrator, a lawyer, who was considered as an "eminently safe man" (56). He dealt with the business that took few risks and believed that the easiest path in life was always the best. The lawyer was

A Capitalist World in Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

888 words - 4 pages , Steven. "The Prudent Samaritan: Melville's 'Bartleby, The Scrivener' As Parody Of Christ's Parable To The Lawyer." Studies In Short Fiction 34.3 (1997): 357-61. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2014. Melville, Herman. “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Nina Baym and Robert S. Levine. Vol. B. New York: Norton, 2012. 1483-1509. Print.

Weak Authority in Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

1419 words - 6 pages In Bartleby the Scrivener; the lawyer, also the narrator, had power over Bartleby in the beginning of the story by hiring him; but then slowly the power diminishes and it causes Bartleby to have power over the lawyer, when he starts replying to everything the lawyer asks of him to with “I would prefer not to.” He doesn’t say “I will not” which confuses the lawyer who takes it as a simple “no.” The lawyer appears to be a kind man that tries to

Bartleby, the Scrivener a Short Story Written by Herman Melville

2117 words - 8 pages , 28 September 2013. Web. 18 April 2014. Giles, Todd. "Melville's BARTLEBY, THE SCRIVENER." Explicator 65.2 (2007): 88-91. Web. 17 March 2014. Melville, Herman. “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Literature to Go. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. 101-129. Print. Sundararajan, Louise. Being as Refusal: Melville's Bartleby as Heideggerian Anti-Hero. Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 1990. Web. 19 April 2014.

Themes of Hopelessness in Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener

1231 words - 5 pages We can never be one hundred percent certain of the validity of our literary analyses. This is especially the case with Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”. Critics have been trying for decades to make sense of the text and most will describe it as “inscrutable”. I don’t claim to know better than the critics, but instead offer my own interpretation of the work. Based on my observations and analysis, Melville’s use of many elements in his

The representation of the racial Other in Herman Melville's Moby Dick

6063 words - 24 pages 2de lic. Germaanse LetterkundeMoby Dick Course"A man can be honest in any sort of skin"The representation of the racial OtherIn Herman Melville's Moby DickYear 2006-2007Melville lived in a time of great political turmoil. American and European missionary work and military expansion, the near extinction of Native American tribes, and the issue of slavery were causing a lot of debate about racial identity, character, and human rights (Otter 2). To

Similar Essays

Herman Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener Essay

3556 words - 14 pages Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener" The narrator states fairly early on in Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener" that both he and Bartleby are "sons of Adam" (55). The phrase plays on a double entendre, referring to both the Calvinist Biblical Eden and to the view of America as the "new Eden." Many recent critics have traced the biblical aspects of this and other elemen ts of the story, claiming the character of Bartleby as a

Herman Melville's Bartleby The Scrivener Essay

554 words - 2 pages Bartleby- The Scrivener In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”, the author uses several themes to convey his ideas. The three most important themes are alienation, man’s desire to have a free conscience, and man’s desire to avoid conflict. Melville uses the actions of an eccentric scrivener named Bartleby, and the responses of his cohorts, to show these underlying themes to the reader. The first theme, alienation, is displayed best by

Herman Melville's Story, Bartleby, The Scrivener

1002 words - 4 pages In Herman Melville's short story, Bartleby, the Scrivener, the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby is constantly changing, the narrator's attitude is conveyed through the author's use of literary elements such as; diction-descriptive and comical, point of view-first person, and tone-confusion and sadness. One of the literary elements that Melville uses that convey the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby is diction. The author's diction in

The Plight Of The Common Man In Herman Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener

4414 words - 18 pages , his association with them is a vacuous relationship. As the lawyer reveals his knowledge about each copyist, he assigns each one a certain value. Bainard Cowan, author of "Melville's soul's code," identifies the origin of this value that is placed on the individual as the "notion of idealistic individualism which seeks to locate a culture's meaningful values within the individual" (639). But the description of each scrivener only reaffirms