Search icone
Search and publish your papers

Understanding the Narrator in "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville

Or download with : a doc exchange

About the author

General public

About the document

Published date
documents in English
book reviews
3 pages
General public
0 times
Validated by
0 Comment
Rate this document
  1. The narrator, a sympathetic figure
  2. The narrator, focused on Bartleby

In Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener", the narrator is confronted with a very difficult and unusual situation. A scrivener hired by the narrator, Bartleby, has stationed himself in the narrators' office and gradually becomes more and more difficult and increasingly stubborn. At first willing to perform his main function as a scrivener - copying documents - Bartleby eventually stops working and "prefers" to do nothing at all. Unwilling to respond to extensive requests by the narrator to perform basic office functions, to seek alternative employment, or communicate at all, Bartleby transforms into a fixture that obstinately stands in the office and does not move.

[...] Additionally, the narrator decides that he will give Bartleby a chance to take money and move on. Instead of call the police, forcing him out physically, or devising some sort of ruthless plan, the narrator decides that he will just leave money on the table, ask Bartleby to kindly leave the office, and then spends a great deal of time ruminating on whether or not his plan will work: After breakfast, I walked downtown, arguing the probabilities pro and con. [...]

[...] Once again, the narrator has no obligation, as an employer who hired Bartleby for a specific purpose, to even do this much. The narrator would be fully justified in just getting rid of Bartleby without actually giving him anything at all, but he feels sympathetic enough and can still find it in his heart to at least try and help the poor man. Although his efforts are unsuccessful?Bartleby does not move but continues to stand around the office?the effort on the part of the narrator is something many others would not consider taking. [...]

[...] The narrator, a man who tried to help Bartleby extensively, could only go so far. Despite the fact that he had no obligation to help Bartleby, the narrator continued to be of assistance and through his efforts, demonstrated that he did care about Bartleby and about his plight. Works Cited Melville, Herman. Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street. 1853. [...]

Similar documents you may be interested in reading.

Oppression and limited discourse in Melville and Alcott

 Philosophy & literature   |  Literature   |  Presentation   |  07/15/2011   |   .doc   |   4 pages

Top sold for literature

Defining and Studying the Modern African Diaspora (Colin Palmer)

 Philosophy & literature   |  Literature   |  School essay   |  09/14/2007   |   .doc   |   2 pages

Society Woman: Days of a Russian Noblewoman

 Philosophy & literature   |  Literature   |  Presentation   |  05/29/2008   |   .doc   |   5 pages