bartelby the scrivener

bartelby the scrivener - All literary works are written...

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All literary works are written from a specific standpoint. This standpoint originates from the mind of the author. The author, when creating his literary work, has a specific diagram/plan and vision of what the story is supposed to convey. However, not all readers will interpret the literary work in the way that the author him/herself has presented it. Many times, in fact, the audience will perceive the literary work as having an entirely different meaning than what it was meant to have. The short story, Bartelby the Scrivener by Herman Melville, has been reviewed by several different critics as having several different standpoints. These standpoints include Bartelby as a Psychological Double to the Narrator, an apostle of reason, having biblical ties, and as being Melville himself. A personal standpoint that proves to be different than those that have come before it is to perceive the story, Bartelby the Scrivener, as a story of family. Of all of these views and interpretations of the story Bartelby the Scrivener, none can be perceived as correct, except by the author. Furthermore, none can be seen as incorrect because literary works, unlike visual works of art, leave us the option to imagine. In fact, our interpretation of another critic's thesis is merely a product of our views on their standpoints. I say that only to justify that we are able to formulate our own opinions and form our own thesis just by reading the words on the page. Bartelby as a Psychological Double The critic of this standpoint is Mordecai Marcus. He feels that Bartelby is a paralleled character or a "psychological double" of the narrator. In his criticism of Bartelby the Scrivener, he writes: "I believe that the character of Bartelby is a psychological double for the story's nameless lawyer-narrator, and that the story's criticism of a sterile and impersonal society can best be clarified by investigation of this role." - "Bartelby appears to be the lawyer chiefly to remind him of the inadequacies, the sterile routine, of his world." (College English, pg. 68)
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Marcus is trying to say that Bartelby and the narrator have a sort of inter-connection. Not as two separate entities, but as two separate personalities residing in one, viewing life from separate standpoints. This view that Marcus has on Bartelby (used as a short for the title), can easily be digested due to the descriptive nature of the story itself. The narrator, confidently from the very introduction of Bartelby's character, describes his every move and demeanors as if it was his own. He is able to successfully convey to the unidentified audience who Bartelby is, while managing to leave room for mystery within the character. The familiarity in the narrator's description leads to a sort of justification of Marcus' theory of the narrator and Bartelby as a "Psychological Double." However, in order to successfully justify this theory, I believe that Marcus should have proceeded to convince his audience that the other characters, Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut, are also alter personalities of the narrator. They too
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2012 for the course ENGLISH 100 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '11 term at San Mateo Colleges.

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bartelby the scrivener - All literary works are written...

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