Criticism Of Bartleby The Scrivener

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There are approximately 130 million known published books in the world, so what’s special about Bartleby the Scrivener. Within its 64 pages, Herman Melville uses Bartleby, an unassuming oddball, to humor and enlighten readers. Bartleby’s temperament is undeniably different than most of society, but there is purpose behind his actions. Despite Bartleby’s seemingly unimaginative demeanor, he is in reality preserving his own unconventional artistic identity by refusing to copy others’ work or conform to societal norms, ultimately providing a model of resistance. In Bartleby the Scrivener, Bartleby is characterized by his unusual behavior and eccentric mannerisms. From the beginning Bartleby is described as “motionless” and “pallidly neat,” which immediately separates him from the other scriveners (Melville 15). He seems to lack any emotion, and has very little social skills. Some of Bartleby’s other bizarre traits are that “he eats nothing but ginger nuts” and lives in the office (Melville 22). It is easy to write him off as an anomaly of society, but there is more to Bartleby. His odd lifestyle can be traced to Bohemianism, an ideology in which adherents pursue an atypical life. Historically, the bohemia are eccentrics of societies who made a home for themselves alongside those with similar oddities (Snyderman 187). One of the pillars of this group is individualism because, following the industrial revolution, artists lost their patronage, thus forcing them to sell their
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