Bartleby The Scrivener Literary Analysis Essay

578 Words3 Pages
A Literary Analysis of Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

Question 1:

Bartleby appears to be a man that is respectful in terms of his job performance and appearance in the narrator’s office. In fact, the narrator defines Bartleby as being “pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn!” (Melville para.15). This description defines a respectable and responsible man, but he also seems depressed and unwilling to do the bidding of his employer. In this manner, Bartleby does not seem like a lazy person, but a person that has become severely depressed in his refusal to work for his employer.

Question 2:

Bartleby “prefers not” to work as a way to reject the authority of the narrator as a “boss” in the workplace. At the end of the story, Bartleby’s employment history defines one possible reason for his refusal to work: “Bartleby had been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington” (Melville para.250). This background tells the reader that that Bartleby worked in a very depressing environment for many years before coming to the Lawyer’s firm. Bartleby appears to “prefer not” to work or find his own living space because he can no longer do the work of a copyist in this
…show more content…
Bartleby begins his rebellion against the Lawyer by refusing to work. The capitalistic setting of Wall Street is superficial because life is only measured in terms of money. Bartleby’s rebellion against this type of economic system is symbolic of rejecting the Wall Street setting in terms of the workplace and living quarters. After all Bartleby has to be forcibly removed from the Lawyer’s office because without money, he cannot rent a place to live. The setting is very significant in this story because it shows a limited interpretation of humanity in a place that measures life in terms of profit, production, and
Open Document