Bartleby The Scrivener Allusion Analysis

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The short story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” is written in by the author Herman Melville, and in the story there are numerous allusions to the Bible. An allusion is when an author indirectly references a famous piece of work in expectation that it will be familiar to the readers. In “Bartleby, the Scrivener” the narrator states, “For a few moments I was turned into pillar of salt, standing at the head of my seated column of clerks. Recovering myself, I advanced toward the screen and demanded the reason for such extraordinary conduct” (884). The narrator felt that he turned into a pillar of salt following Bartleby’s reoccurring refusal of examining the copies. The phrase that is important in this particular passage is “turned into a pillar of salt.” This is an allusion to Genesis 19:26 because in this chapter of the Bible the angels were told by the Lord to destroy the city of Sodom due to the behavior there.…show more content…
The author’s choice relates to the story as a whole because throughout the story the narrator continuously felt as if it was his duty to help Bartleby in any way that he could. This is supported by a statement of the narrator, which also alludes to the Bible. He admitted, “For the first time in my life a feeling of overpowering stinging melancholy seized me. Before I had never experience aught but a not unpleasing sadness. The bond of common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom. A fraternal melancholy! For both I and Bartleby were sons of Adam” (889). Even though the narrator was not guilty of being disobedient at this moment, he was growing angrier at Bartleby due to his refusal to do his job. This ultimately lead him to not serving God because he would eventually stop being of assistance to Bartleby, which may have let to stating that he turned into a pillar of salt a that
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