Social Deviance In Bartleby The Scrivener

684 words - 3 pages

Social Deviance in Bartleby the Scrivener

 

 

      Bartleby the Scrivener is a story that takes place on Wall

Street, peopled by workers of a common mold.  Being a non-conformatist of

the most extreme type,  Bartleby is eventually suffers a death of

attrition.  The message that Melville intends for the reader is how

society has little tolerance for social deviance.

 

      I mentioned a common mold, the engine which impelled the

"society" of Wall Street to keep on existing.  This common mold consists

of working a full day, going home and relax, possibly drinking some beer

or whatnot. 

 

      This is where the theme of ostracization of social deviance comes

into play, expressed in the metaphor of individual versus society. Those

who do not fit into the common mold are pressured to change or are

removed forcibly.  Bartleby is an example of a character that doesnÍt fit

anywhere even near the mold and is "removed."

 

       Within this society that upholds the common mold there is a

hierarchy of obsessive qualities, some of which are admired and others

which are scorned and deemed to be in the realm of dysfunctionalism. 

Bartleby is character that holds an aesthetic of performing only a single

action to the exclusion to everything else, this is his obsession.

 

      BartlebyÍs obsession proceeds throught three stages before his

demise.  Initially BartlebyÍs obsession is with his employ as a scrivener

by the narrator, and works day and night "as if famished for something to

copy."   His obsession is single-mindedly with accomplishing as much

copying as humanly possible to the exclusion of everything else.  The

first few attempts of the narrator to tell Bartleby to do something else,

no matter how slight the task, are abortive.  The narrator chooses to ...

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