Bartleby The Scrivener — Melissa Quist.pdf - Quist 1...

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Quist 1Melissa QuistProfessor CluffENG250-0123 April 2019The Walls Within “Bartleby the Scrivener”The tale of “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville is a story of a strangelyenigmatic, passive man. This man, Bartleby, works as a scrivener for a Lawyer from whom wesee the perspective of this narrative. The Lawyer has many difficulties understanding Bartlebyand the reasoning behind his actions, and it is safe to say this incomprehension of Bartlebycarries over to readers of the story. Despite this incomprehension, the story of Bartleby is onethat continues to fascinate readers. Part of what fascinates readers about the story as well as thecharacter of Bartleby is the impossibility of interpreting or understanding him. There are manywalls that Bartleby is put behind—some out of his own volition and others which were built forhim. These walls are both physical and symbolic, and they aid in creating boundaries and adisconnect between Bartleby and the other characters as well as Bartleby and the reader.Walls are a controlling symbol of “Bartleby the Scrivener,” and Melville uses this symbolboth to embody certain characteristics and themes as well as create the world of the story. Part ofthe reason this symbolism is so powerful is because of all the things that walls can represent.Walls are used to create boundaries and divide things, as well as install a disconnect andseparation between people. The walls found within the story of “Bartleby the Scrivener” come toembody the isolation that Bartleby faces due to his own and other’s actions, and they are the verything that enable the inscrutability of Bartleby’s character.
Quist 2Bartleby is surrounded by physical walls which often represent the walls he has built upinside of himself. Though Bartleby is the character about whom the story is being told, little tonothing is known about him. This is due to a variety of reasons, but one of the first is thatBartleby isolates himself from others. This isolation takes a variety of forms and each formbuilds a different wall that keeps readers and other characters from understanding Bartleby.Attempts are made throughout the story to learn Bartleby’s history and understand him, yet herefuses to give any information pertaining to himself. This lack of information plays a large rolein the enigma of Bartleby’s character.No one understands Bartleby or the things he does, and one of the reasons for this isBartleby’s refusal to share information with anyone about himself or his past. Bartleby distanceshimself from others not only through his refusal to share personal information but also throughhis personality—or lack thereof. Bartleby’s personality is described as mechanical and reserved,and at first the Lawyer believes that Bartleby will be a perfect balance for the other workers;however it is soon seen that this is another wall that Bartleby puts between himself and others.

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Term
Spring
Professor
Dr. Randall Cluff
Tags
English, essay writing, American Literature, College Essays, Melville Stories, Bartleby the Scrivener, Bartleby, Scrivener, Bartleby the Scrivener, Dead letter office

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