Bartleby The Scrivener Setting Analysis

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Imagine a world without electricity. English students would be sitting in sunlight-lit classrooms, writing papers by hand, and actually having to memorize how to correctly spell words. Because Thomas Edison was able to explore the far reaches of his creativity, he was able to find the key to his problem. As society puts more restrictions on the behavior of man, we risk losing the potential in others. In “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, Herman Melville shows that society is destructive to the nature of man through the motif in the setting and through his use of characterization. Through the motif of walls in the setting, Melville shows the devastation on man by society. The motif of walls begins in the sub-title “A Story of Wall-Street” (Melville…show more content…
When Bartleby comes to work for the narrator, the narrator “[assigns] Bartleby a corner by the folding-doors, but on [his] side of them, so as to have this quiet man within easy call” (Melville 4). The lawyer does not want Bartleby close as a friend or even someone to occasionally converse with; he only wants an assistant. His mission is to run his business as effectively as possible and wants the scrivener close for easy access to help. The narrator convinces himself “that the easiest way of life is the best” (Melville 1). He wants his life to go smoothly but to live lavishly. He continuously sacrifices personal relationships to do his job. Determination to work is a beneficial characteristic; however, acting computerized is abnormal to the human nature. With an even more robotic demeanor toward work, Bartleby copies legal documents “silently, palely, [and] mechanically” in his lonely corner (Melville 4). He shows no emotion and has little interactions with other people. Even when the situation became intense not even a “wrinkle of agitation rippled” through Bartleby (Melville 5). Acting as indifferent as Bartleby does is unnatural to human beings. Society warped his emotional core until it disappeared. Because of Bartleby’s unusual behavior, the narrator begins to question “the probable effects upon the human constitution of living entirely on ginger-nuts” (Melville 7). Although they…show more content…
In the text, the narrator automatically rejects what is outside of the “normal” span. Such tight hold on the ideas of the people puts the entire population at risk for losing the next Thomas Edison. If people are cut off from exploring and forced to conform to social norms, the world will become
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