Kimberly Edwards 04/5/2012Professor Noble English 4100The Existential FreedomThe concept of existentialism is at the base of Bartelby, mostly through his motives, actions, and through his human existentialist reasoning regarding every situation. His existential view is one that provides freedom rather than confinement. It addresses both subjects yet tends to fair more towards a beautiful freedom. This freedom for Bartelby is basically sameness. For him every day is the same, which alludes to a song that expresses a similar existential view of Bartelby. Every day to his boss when required to do work he would rather not do, he remarks, “ I prefer not to,” in almost everyencounter with him. The song by Nine Inch Nails reveals a total absence of emotion when concerning living day-to-day life. The song really goes along the lines of feeling purposeless and unchanging especially when the chorus repeats that, “Every day is exactly the same.” Yet Bartelby also lives at a level of discreet communism in the way he does not aspire to advance to a higher position which relates to this daily sameness, does not care where he lives, or his mediocre position in society, or whether he keeps a job or not and is finally unaffected by praise or sympathy, misfortunes or accomplishments in his preference-filled life. (Nine Inch Nails) Bartelby’s motives seem to give him a certain freedom due to the fact no one can find a reason for his actions. In this way, he has one-upped them all, gone above the farthest level of defiance and that is to defy human reason. Melville uses this non-
motivated persona to illustrate how the postmodernism lens works. Absent of all reason and linear patterns of stories, postmodernists instead defy the norm and create their own sense of normality through the strangeness of story in disarray. In a particular situation Bartelby’s refusal to a simple request from his boss leads the narrator to believe Bartelby is absent of reason. As a copyist he gets paid every week to copy but after a while of working Bartelby didn’t feel the need to copy. Instead he felt the need to passively assert his preferences to his boss who believed Bartelby was his obligation, his duty. Simultaneously the narrator recognized his complete absence of reason when he refuses to review his own paper even though he is a copyist. The narrator asks him to “examine..