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Unformatted text preview: The story's existential overtones spotlight Bartleby like an uncurious rat in an unfathomable maze as he eventually dies in a cheerless cul-de-sac, a walled stopping place in his aspirations which leads to total emotional dysfunction and death. On another plane, the futility of Bartleby's existence suggests Melville's personal disillusionment with the publishing world, which spurned his efforts to raise his fiction from the level of breezy, titillating travelogue to philosophical treatise. In both cases, other copyists and other writers managed to function, even thrive, in stifling milieus. But Bartleby, and, by extension, Melville, both too sensitive to the oppressive forces that encircle them, face slow, inexorable suffocation. Because the story hinges on the actions of a narrator of limited perception, the reader moves fumblingly along toward a resolution of the problem of an employee who refuses to work. A fiercely fumblingly along toward a resolution of the problem of an employee who refuses to work....
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This note was uploaded on 11/28/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08