Marxist Criticism In Bartleby The Scrivener

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Torres 1

Marlon Torres
Professor Canton
English 103
3 February 2018
Marxist Criticism and “Bartleby the Scrivener”
The major source of power in "Bartleby, the Scrivener" is the persistence manifestation of heroism through passive resistance and not following the capitalist ideals. A character who resists the ways of the superiors, like Bartleby, plays an important role in breaking the social structures that are present in the society currently. Whenever a person resists what they see to be deviating their principles and standards, they create a rebellion that is not only important to their self-esteem but also powerful. According to Karl Marx who came up with the Marxist criticism, the capitalist society is divided into two groups
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According to the Marxist philosophy, social relations between persons of different classes can signify a case of an oppressor and a person being oppressed. For Bartleby to avoid this oppression, even from the narrator who is a lawyer and hails from a different social class, he must remain firm and expose this inequality like that of a master and a slave. Such inequality is a major cause of power differences since the master always feel that they are superior to their slaves (Barnett, p.379). As such, Bartleby ought to source for his power since his personality is mostly influenced by the fact that he has little money, a good illustration that he must struggle to become powerful. Marxist theory argues that money is a supreme illustration of goodness and anyone who possesses it is better than a person who does…show more content…
All that capitalism does is trapping the personality of the individual and breaking them down to fit the needs of the master. However, Bartleby knows that the only way that he can become powerful is through having a hard stand against oppression and any capitalistic oppression. To end this oppression, Bartleby is forced to be reluctant to work although he does not leave the workplace because he will be destroyed if he plans to quit the job prematurely. Also, the capitalists are always careful in that they do not support the establishment of a new economic situation because it will uplift the potential and lifestyle of the workers. The only option that is remaining for Bartleby is to make those decisions that favor his personality and not what is good for the machine. Having such preferences and reducing assumptions is a clear illustration of Bartleby 's power
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