Sunday, February 24, 2019
Ã¯Â»Â¿Analysis of Bartleby, the scrivener Essay
The tellers initial self-char ph unrivaled numbererization is grand to the story. He is a safe man, one who takes few risks and tries above all to conform. The most practical concerns of financial security and ease of keep are his priorities. He has make himself perfectly at home in the new-made economy he works as a lawyer dealing with rich custodys legal documents. He is therefore an opposite or attendant to Bartleby in many counsels.He is too ill suited to be entrusted with the salvation of a nonher. Bartleby the Scrivener is one of the first-year great stories of corporate discontent. The vacuum of modern business life is an important theme. The description of the locating is improbably bleak on one side, the windows open onto a light shaft, and on the other, the windows look out onto a brick wall. The landscape of Wall Street is wholly supernatural, and one is cut off from nature and almost all sprightliness things. At night, this isolation as well as includes t he absence of people.The work environment is stereotypic and cheerless. so far most adapt to it, with varying degrees of success. Though the teller is a successful man, he is a victim, in some ways, of progress. He has broken the post he occupied during the central in timets of the story, as the position was deemed purposeless and eliminated. The modern economy includes constant and unfeeling change, which comes at a cost. bivalent is a recurring theme in Bartleby. Bartleby is a phantom double of our teller, and the parallels between them entrust be further explored later.Nippers and Turkey are manifold of distrisolelyively other. Nippers is useless in the morning and productive in the afternoon, tour Turkey is drunk in the afternoon and productive in the morning. Nippers aspiration mirrors Turkeys resignation to his place and the sad uneventfulness of his career, the difference overture about because of their respective get alongs. Nippers cherishes ambitions of cre ation much than a mere scrivener, magic spell the elderly Turkey must plead with the narrator to consider his age when evaluating his productivity.Their vices are to a fault parallel, in terms of being appropriate vices for each mans respective age. Alcoholism is a vice that develops with time. competition arguably is most volatile in a mans youth. These two display cases are obviously non fleshed out they are caricatures of unalike personalities found in the business solid ground, and their silliness is stretched beyond the point of credible realism. They provide valuable comic relief in what is otherwise a somber and upsettingtale.From the beginning, the description of Bartleby is striking. He is a person who seems already dead he is keyd alternately as one would describe a corpse or as one would describe a refinement. Pale from indoors work, motionless, without any expression or evidence of tender passion in him at all, he is a man already beaten.Even his famous peda gogy of non-compliance, I would prefer non to, is an act of exhaustion rather than active defiance. His success at getting out-of-door with his uncooperativeness comes from his very passivity, which seems to cast a spell over the narrator. It is not I will not besides I would prefer not, emphasizing that Bartleby is acting out of emotional repartee rather than some philosophical or ethical choice. Bartleby will detach from the world in stages, beginning with this first statement.With each time he reiterates the statement, he is renouncing one more tour of the world and its duties. The final renunciation will be of animated itself, characteristically arrived at indirectly by the preference not to eat. The scenes in which the narrator asks the advice of his employees are always comical in tone. Each man reacts harmonize to the dictates of the time of day if it is morning, Nippers is fiery and Turkey benign, and if it is afternoon, Turkey is belligerent and Nippers calm. Their foreseeable reactions underscore their status as symbols or types rather than realistic characters. They too serve as the clowns of the story.Bartleby and the narrator are more real, but both(prenominal) of them also wealthy person powerful allegorical roles. furrow that these two package an office room, just as Nippers and Turkey do. Increasingly, Bartleby is described in spectral terms, and a perceptive reader will soon realize that the ghost is in some ways the narrators phantom double. Note how often we see Bartleby as phantom, as when the narrator roars his name until he appears Like a very ghost, agreeably to the the laws of magical invocation, at the ternary summons, he appeared at the entrance of his hermitage (19). Later, we learn that Bartleby haunts the structure. Like a ghost, he lives in the office when no one else is there, when Wall Street is a desert, a landscape both completely unnatural and forlornly empty.The narrator senses that there are parallels betwee n himself and the scrivener, and Bartlebys sombreness infects him Before, I had neer encounterd aught but a not unpleasing glumness. The shackle of a common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom. A fraternal melancholy For both I and Bartleby were sons of Adam (23). Bartlebys lock draws the narrator into depths of feeling that he did not know he was adequate of. Part of Bartlebys power over the narrator is that he someways sees Bartleby as a part of himself. He, too, has been forced to adapt to the business world. scarce while he has adapted and gone by dint of the consequent desensitise (previous otiose to feel more than a not unpleasing sadness), Bartleby has been bludgeoned to exhaustion.Nothing pleases him about this world. The narrator, at different times, wants to table service Bartleby. But we establish been warned that the narrator is a safe man who thinks the easiest path is also the best. His mercy for Bartleby turns to revulsion (see the passage from pp. 24-25, above). The narrators plight works by means of the themes of responsibility and compassion. His obligations, in one sense, are nothing. But as re extendd as Bartleby is a living, suffering being, and that both men are sons of Adam, the narrator arguably should do all that he stomach.To what extent is the narrator alleged(a) to help the melancholic scrivener? Has he failed as a human being if he has done any less than all he can? After asserting that after a certain point, compassionateness becomes revulsion, he defends the conversion They err who would assert that invariably this is owing to the natural selfishness of the human oculus. It rather proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying prodigal and organic ill (24-25). Yet the narrator goes on to describe the transformation as defensive.Although he denies the charge that the pity-to-revulsion change is due to selfishness, his explanation of the motives bottomland it seem like little more than a selfishness that is philosophically justified. At work here is what Toni Morrison (an admirer of Melville) would call a shortage of love. Ironically, on the day his pity turns to revulsion, the narrator was on his way to Church.The narrator neer does make it to Church that day, and the symbolism is obvious. Though he was on his way to see a celebrity preacher, religions highest ideals do not win a place in the narrators heart Melville, as he does in many of his works, is taking a little jab at religion and its inability to change men meaning fully for the better. The narrator will try to help Bartleby return home, but we will see that there are limits to what he feels he can do.The office space of the modern business world undergoes some interesting conceptualizations in this section. At first, the narrator calls our attention to the desolateness of the office and of Wall Street Of a Sunday, Wall Street is deserted as Petra and each night ofevery day it is an emptiness (23). There are paral lels between Bartlebys experience of the workplace at night and his experience of the workplace in world-wide share a similarity he sees something that no one else sees. The loneliness of Wall Street is part of Bartlebys essential perception of it. The real(a) desolation at night is paralleled by the spiritual desolation during the day. Bartleby sees both, and through him the narrator gets some sense of them.The narrator also makes an interesting move by describing the office as a site of savagery. He cites the good example of a recent Wall Street murder, and explains why an office can be conducive to otherwise unthinkable acts Often it had occurred to me in my ponderings upon the subject, that had that affray taken place in the public street, or at a private residence, it would not have terminated as it did. It was the circumstance of being alone in a solitary office, up stairs, of a building entirely unhallowed by humanizing domestic associations . . . (33-34). The office, a site of modern economic systems and progress, becomes a space like the jungle island in The superior of the Flies. Something about the space is dehumanizing, and makes murder possible.Finally, the narrators resolve to help Bartleby weakens, and its because of his work. Apparently, the modern office also makes possible the neglect of another(prenominal) human being. The narrator is certainly not an exception among humans for his choices he puts up with more from Bartleby than anyone else does. But in the end, he makes choices that amount to desertion of Bartleby.If his action is something any human would do, then the giving up of Bartleby is a color on humanity. The spiritual descriptions of Bartleby are now extended to the narrator. He describes dismission up the stairs to his old office as going on a higher floor to my old haunt (42). The language is part of the expansion of Bartlebys ghostly characteristics to the narrator and later, to all of humanity.We see that Bartleby does not want to do anything living itself tires him. In this way, Bartleby the Scrivener is more than just a didactic tract on the economic world of Melvilles day. The aims of life are not easily changed, and the depictions of office sterility and isolation in a large, unnatural world seem equally applicable today. Bartleby is a creature unable to adapt to this world, because he is too honest about what appeals to him. Nothing in life excites him. When the narrator tries to suggest different occupations to Bartleby, the scriveners response is always the same I would prefernot to.The narrators offer to have Bartleby stay at his own home seems ab initio generous, but this belated offer of hospitality comes from a fear of malicious gossip a lawyer has threatened to publish the case in the papers. Yet one of the accomplishments of the story is that our narrator is basically a decent man. His abandonment of Bartleby is in no way exceptional, nor are we meant to see the narrator as m ore cruel or uncaring than the rest of humanity. If he fails Bartleby, we also must concede that most of us would fail him as well. several(prenominal) times in the story, we are made to question Bartlebys sanity. spice Nut gleefully suggests that Bartleby is insane I think, sir, hes a little loony (16). The narrator also apparently shares the opinion, as he confides to the grub-man that Bartleby is a little deranged (44).But Bartleby, whatever his problems may be, is fully aware of the world around him. When the narrator greets Bartleby in prison, hes condescending to him, speaking to him in the way that one condescends to the mad And see, it is not so sad a place as one king think. Look, there is the sky, and here is the grass. Bartlebys reply is concise and curt I know where I am (43). He is aware of the world. Notice also that there is a double meaning in the exchange. Both Bartleby and the narrator could be referring to the world itself. Bartleby is asserting that he can see the world around him clearly, and he apparently finds nothing to excite him. Environment has been important so far to the story, and Melvilles concise and powerful description of the prison yard continues the trend. Death checkry is abundant.The description comes not during the first visit, but right before the narrator finds Bartlebys death. He describes the character of the masonry as Egyptian, and mentions the soft imprisoned turf growing underfoot. The heart of the eternal pyramids, it seemed, wherein, by some strange magic, through the clefts, grass-seed, dropped by birds, had sprung (45). For people of Melvilles day, even more so than now, Egyptian character would recall death, as the Egyptian civilization was known mostly through its funerary objects and elaborate burying practices. Incidentally, the Halls of Justice are called The Tombs.The image of the turf is ambiguous. Is it an image of hope, or of immurement? The heart of the eternal pyramids is a pretty phrase, but the pyramids, it must be remembered, were tombs. Death itself is the only constant. The image of birds dropping seeds, which grow in pain of the hostile environment, islyrical and powerful. But is the grass a metaphor for hope, and lifes persistence, the possibility of survival and beauty in a acerb environment? Or does the phrase imprisoned turf dominate the image? The grass then becomes battered, trapped life, with no hope of escaping the Egyptian character of the Tombs.Mortality is not a theme here in the familiar sense. Bartleby chooses his death, detaching from life in stages and sliding towards an inevitable end. The real death is more than an event in time death is diffuse, a spiritual gloom pervading the empty Wall Street landscape, the imposing stonework of the prison, and the Dead Letter major power where Bartleby supposedly worked. Living is not the opposite of death, but a condition continually assaulted and permeated by it.The final rumor is haunting and dark. We le arn also that Bartleby lost the Dead Letter Office job due to an brass change. The doubling continues remember that the narrator lost his position due to bureaucratic change as well. Here, the doubling is expanded. Bartleby is a phantom double not only for the narrator, but for all of humanity. The Dead Letter Office is a place of supreme gloom, where evidence of human mortality and the futility of our best intentions would have been unavoidable. The narrator, a man who adapts to this life, who thrives in the world that exhausted Bartleby, cannot help but be moved by Bartlebys vision.The tone of his final statement (Ah, Bartleby Ah, humanity) is of a sadness mixed with resignation, a pained breathe rather than a shriek of anger. He has failed to help even one man. He can do nothing to alter the human condition.