Argumentative Essay Bartleby the Scrivener is a story narrated from the perception of a Manhattan lawyer responsible for managing an interesting office. The center of this narrative is Bartleby, and it concentrates on the affiliation between him and the narrator who hires him to work in his office. There is not much clarity as to how the narrator finds Bartleby, but this is not an issue of concern until matters take a different direction. Bartleby is revealed as a good worker in comparison to other employees in the office that tend to show their faults like partly being excellent employees. The narrator requests to work on an ordinary job which is not completely relevant to copying, and instead of writing, he prefers to object.
Marx’s ideas on this exploitation refers to a feudalistic driven society, where the performance of labour is over and above what is needed to produce goods consumed by the labourer. An example to sustain his theory is of when the exploiter ends up with a surplus. The proletariat or working class is therefore not paid the full value of what she or he produces, the rest is the surplus value which is the capitalist’s profits, and according to Marx known as the ‘unpaid labour of the working class’. The bourgeoisie force down wages of the proletariat to increase their own profits and this creates a more direct conflict between the classes and gives rise to the development of class consciousness in the working class. The working class, through trade unions and other struggles becomes conscious of itself as an exploited class.
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
Marxist Criticism focuses on class struggle and power structure in a literary piece (Davidson). In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez can be analyzed using Marxist Criticism to show how power is maintained in the novel. Trujillo maintains his power by convincing girls to live in his homes, jailing citizens who try to overthrow him, and killing citizens that he has large problems with. Trujillo uses his authority to make all of his citizens obey him so that he can keep his power, or else they must deal with severe consequences. Trujillo acts this way to prove that he is the man in charge and ultimately prove that he is unbeatable.
For example, one of his workers, Turkey, is an old man whose productivity is low during the day. Rather than firing Turkey, the Lawyer, instead of firing Turkey, tries to make compromises so that that Turkey could be both productive and happy. His care for his workers translates into how he treats Bartleby, one of his new workers. Bartleby is a hard worker, that always does his work efficiently, which was deeply appreciated by the Lawyer. Bartleby had worked so hard to the point where had strained his eyes out.
Bartleby’s office is isolated from the rest of society. Bartleby’s boss and coworkers alienate him from the rest of the office. One can say Bartelby knew his fate was beyond his control, thus his isolation and
As previously said, Bartleby the Scrivener and the narrator seem to be foils of each other. The protagonist, Bartleby, resists the crowd and the usual way of living. He lives against the norms: isolating himself from society and humanity. Barely eating, or a certain point refusing to eat, living in his own office consequently cutting contact with humans and not executing his boss’s, the narrator, orders. Therefore, completely defying
Herman Melville’s short story “Bartelby, the Scrivener” is a tale that compels readers to decipher between what is meant to be a generous deed and what reflects egocentric and selfish behaviors. The main character, an elderly lawyer, proves to be an “eminently safe man” by creating walls between himself and the rest of humanity and by holding onto a fear of public critique and rejection. This lawyer performs charitable conduct toward Bartleby to acquire self-approval and an honorable conscience. The lawyer begins the story as materialistic and out of touch man and ends it in the same manner. Through the use of symbolism and characterization, Melville makes apparent the idea that the lawyer is charitable to Bartleby not because it benefits mankind but in an attempt to achieve his own humanity and self-gratification at a higher level.
Its literature helped me recognize the symbolism in which Herman Melville used to relate to his story. Reading Foster helped me realize the common Biblical stories with symbolic implications and how the Christ like figures are ironically used at some point. It helped me make the connection between Bartleby and Jesus. Irony is a statement that has a hidden meaning directly opposite of its explicit wording. So when Bartleby says “No, I would prefer not to”.
Two Familiar Responses to “Bartleby”: One Internal and One External Perspective Herman Melville’s "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short story describing the Narrator’s encounter with the titular character, a mysterious man hired by the Narrator as a copywriter. In class, we looked at the Marxist response to “Bartleby”. Upon my first read, I must admit that “Bartleby” didn’t appear to me as prime material for a Marxist response. Later, I realized that what I had done was accept the superficial explanation of Bartleby’s misfortunes as offered by the Narrator. By comparison, the critiques by David Kuebrich and Naomi C. Reed forwent some of the explicit suggestions of the text and instead focused on aspects of the character of Bartleby offered by circumstance and their own expertise as literary critics.