Civil Disobedience In Bartleby, The Scrivener By Herman Melville

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Harman Nahal Prof. Ashraf English 162 10 March 2017 The Scrivener “Bartleby, the Scrivener” a short story by Herman Melville was initially serialized in two parts in the issues of Putnam’s Magazines in November and December of 1853. The narrator in the story is an unnamed Manhattan lawyer who has employed two scriveners. The two workers are Turkey and Nippers. The growth of the business compels him to hire a third employee, Bartleby. The author of the book has used the narration to express the theme of civil disobedience based on the action of the characters. The author has used the setting, symbolism, point of view, characters, and theme to illustrate the civil disobedience in the book and to also act as a technique to highlight the wrongdoings…show more content…
The act includes the refusal to obey a particular set of law, commands, or demands by an occupying international power or the government. The civil disobedience may be founded on the need for integrity, sound policies, and promoting justice. Based on these principles, the refusal by Bartleby to conform to be consistent with the set norm might not necessarily imply that his actions were unethical. His constant refusal to follow the routine emphasizes the general need to have a clear set of changes in the working environment. One of the reasons for the act of disobedience could have been due to the repetition and the set procedures that the employees were expected to follow. The continued act of disobedience highlights the need for change within the office. Thus continued acts of civil disobedience led to the relocation of the business. Eventually, Bartleby loses his job for his continued civil disobedience against the majority. However, this character provides an insightful view that justified and proper actions form an important determinant of the morality of law. In my personal experience, leaders and government often make laws, and the ordinary citizen is only expected to resign by them rather than opposing. Some of the rules in the working place, school, and in the society might violate the moral concept. Civil disobedience is thus an ideal tool that we can utilize to share our views and opinions on the issues affecting the entire community. The use of this approach will surely help the state in recognizing the needs of the
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