Views on Melville's "Bartleby The Scrivener"
Herman Melville has written many well-known stories and books, possibly best known for "Moby Dick." However twisted and dark view of society Melville portrays, it is far deeper and darker in the short story, "Bartleby The Scrivener." This story has been read and analyzed by many notable scholars. These well known professors have offered many explanations of
Melville's story. I will explore a few of their ideas on the story and offer one of my own.
"Bartleby the Scrivener" is a story about a kind hearted lawyer and the scriveners under his employment. The lawyer has a rather dull office on Wall Street in New York, where his main business is dealing with the drawing up contracts for his clients. For this he has under his employment 3 scriveners and an apprentice. The scrivener's job is none other than to hand copy documents, as this story is set in a time when there were no copy machines and computers. Two of his employees are somewhat distempered. One is a fat man that comes into work dirty and smelling of food. The other is an ill-tempered man who often has bill collectors visit him while at work. The third scrivener Bartleby is an odd man, who only had a short employment. "Bartleby who was a scrivener, the strangest I ever saw or heard of" (Melville 1043). Bartleby came to work for the lawyer during the summer when he required more help. He was quiet and did not engage in any social contact with the others. !
He was assigned a desk in a corner of the room next to a window that only shown a dirty old brick wall. At first he worked with the intensity of a finely tuned machine. "At first Bartleby did an extraordinary quantity of writing. As if long famished for something to copy, he seemed to gorge himself on my documents." (Melville 1048). However when asked to revise his document, a common ...