Melville, Herman – Bartleby The Scrivener
Melville, Herman – Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street is a timeless classic that explores the life of a scrivener named Bartleby, who works in the bustling world of Wall Street.
Bartleby The Scrivener is a novella written by Herman Melville in 1853. It tells the story of Bartleby, a young and mysterious scrivener who is hired by a successful lawyer to copy legal documents.
The lawyer, initially intrigued by Bartleby’s quiet and efficient work, soon realizes that there is something peculiar about his new employee. Bartleby exhibits a strange apathy towards his work, often responding with the phrase “I would prefer not to” when asked to perform tasks.
This phrase becomes Bartleby’s trademark, as he starts refusing to do any work at all, sitting idly in the office and causing frustration and confusion among his coworkers. The lawyer tries to reason with Bartleby and understand his motivations, but to no avail.
“I prefer not to,” he replied, with his back still towards me.
“Not willing to do any copying?”
“I prefer not to,” he said, and gently disappeared behind the screen.
Melville’s Bartleby The Scrivener is a thought-provoking tale that explores themes of individuality, conformity, and the dehumanizing effects of the corporate world. It challenges the reader to question the meaning of work and the boundaries of human behavior.
If you are looking for a captivating and thought-provoking read, Melville, Herman – Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street is the right choice. Experience the timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today.
Overview of “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street”
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a captivating novella written by Herman Melville. Set in the bustling streets of Wall Street, the story follows the life of Bartleby, a peculiar and enigmatic scrivener who works in a law office.
The story begins when Bartleby is hired as a copyist by a successful lawyer. At first, Bartleby appears to be a diligent worker, copying legal documents with great accuracy and speed. However, as time goes on, Bartleby starts refusing to perform his duties, using the phrase “I would prefer not to” as his default response. This unusual behavior baffles the lawyer and the other employees in the office.
The lawyer attempts various methods to reason with Bartleby and understand his strange behavior, but all attempts fail. Bartleby becomes increasingly resistant to any kind of work and spends most of his time staring out of the office window. The lawyer’s frustration and confusion grow as he tries to comprehend the motives behind Bartleby’s actions.
As the story unfolds, Bartleby’s presence disrupts the lawyer’s usual routine and begins to have a profound effect on his own mental state. The lawyer becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of Bartleby’s refusal to work and what it signifies about human nature and society.
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” explores several thought-provoking themes. It delves into the nature of individualism, the alienation of modern work life, and the limits of empathy. Through Bartleby’s silent rebellion, Melville raises questions about the complexities of human behavior and the limits of understanding.
This novella also critiques the dehumanizing effects of an overly bureaucratic and capitalist society. It highlights the tension between conformity and individualism, and the struggles individuals face when trying to maintain their autonomy within a restrictive system.
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a captivating and thought-provoking story that continues to resonate with readers. Melville’s exploration of human behavior, society, and the complexities of the individual make this novella a timeless piece of literature.
If you are looking for a thought-provoking and introspective read, “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is sure to captivate and challenge your perspective.
Plot summary and analysis
Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street is a short story written by Herman Melville that was first published in 1853. The story revolves around a Wall Street lawyer who hires Bartleby, a peculiar and introverted scrivener, to work in his office.
The story begins with the lawyer introducing Bartleby to the readers and describing his duties as a scrivener, which mainly involve copying legal documents. At first, Bartleby is a diligent worker and completes his tasks with precision and accuracy. However, as the story progresses, Bartleby’s behavior becomes increasingly strange and unpredictable.
One day, when asked to proofread a document, Bartleby simply replies with the now-famous phrase, “I would prefer not to.” This refusal becomes his trademark response to any request or task asked of him, leaving the lawyer perplexed and frustrated.
The lawyer tries various approaches to understand and manage Bartleby’s behavior. He first tries to reason with him, then offers him different tasks, and even attempts to relocate him to a different part of the office. However, each attempt proves futile as Bartleby steadfastly refuses to comply with anything.
As Bartleby’s refusal persists, the lawyer’s patience and tolerance are put to the test. The other employees of the office grow increasingly irritated and troubled by Bartleby’s presence and his refusal to leave even when asked to. The lawyer becomes conflicted, torn between sympathy for Bartleby’s mysterious situation and the practical needs of running his business.
Ultimately, the lawyer decides to move his office to a different building in order to escape Bartleby’s presence. However, even after the move, Bartleby continues to haunt him. Out of concern, the lawyer visits Bartleby in the new location, only to find that he has been living there, doing nothing and refusing to leave or eat.
The story takes a tragic turn when Bartleby is arrested for vagrancy and is taken to jail. The lawyer, haunted by guilt and the memory of Bartleby, tries to intervene and help him, but it is too late. Bartleby dies in jail, refusing to eat or engage with anyone until his final breath.
- Symbolism: Throughout the story, the character of Bartleby is a symbol for existential despair and the alienation experienced by individuals in a modern capitalist society. His emotional detachment and refusal to conform to societal norms reflect a deeper sense of meaninglessness and disconnection.
- Irony: The story is filled with irony, as the narrator, a successful Wall Street lawyer, struggles to understand and control a scrivener who rejects the very system that the lawyer thrives in. The irony lies in the lawyer’s inability to comprehend Bartleby’s motivations, despite his position of power and authority.
- Theme of Isolation: Bartleby’s isolation and withdrawal from society is a central theme in the story. His refusal to communicate or engage with others reflects the loneliness and isolation that can be experienced in a bustling city like Wall Street.
- Questioning of Capitalist Society: Melville uses Bartleby’s character to question the values and priorities of a capitalist society. The story explores the dehumanizing effects of a society that places a premium on productivity and conformity, while neglecting the individual’s humanity and well-being.
In conclusion, “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a thought-provoking story that delves into themes of alienation, the human condition, and societal norms. Through the character of Bartleby, Melville challenges readers to question the values and expectations of modern society.
What is “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” about?
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a novella written by Herman Melville. It tells the story of a lawyer who hires a scrivener named Bartleby. Bartleby initially works hard, but then starts refusing to do any work. The lawyer tries to reason with Bartleby, but he simply responds with “I would prefer not to.” The story explores themes of isolation, alienation, and the dehumanizing effects of corporate life.
Is “Bartleby The Scrivener” a well-known book?
Yes, “Bartleby The Scrivener” is considered one of Herman Melville’s most famous works. It is highly regarded for its exploration of human nature and its critique of capitalism. The novella has been studied and analyzed by scholars for its complex themes and symbolism.
Who would enjoy reading “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street”?
“Bartleby The Scrivener” would appeal to readers who enjoy literary fiction and philosophical exploration. It is a thought-provoking and introspective work that delves into themes of human behavior and societal norms. Fans of Herman Melville’s other works, such as “Moby-Dick,” may also find this novella interesting.
What is the writing style of “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” like?
The writing style of “Bartleby The Scrivener” is characterized by its concise and precise prose. Herman Melville is known for his descriptive and metaphorical language, and this novella is no exception. The narrative is engaging and the dialogue between the characters is well-crafted, adding depth to the story.
Is “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” a difficult read?
“Bartleby The Scrivener” can be challenging for some readers due to its complex themes and philosophical musings. It requires patience and careful reading to fully appreciate the layers of meaning within the story. However, those who enjoy analyzing literary works and delving into deeper interpretations will find it rewarding.
What is “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” about?
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a novella by Herman Melville. It tells the story of a lawyer who hires a new scrivener, Bartleby, who gradually becomes more and more withdrawn, refusing to do any work or even leave the office.
Is “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” a well-known book?
Yes, “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is a well-known and highly regarded book. It is often studied in literature courses and is considered one of Melville’s greatest works.
What is the writing style of “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street”?
The writing style of “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is characterized by its simplicity and precision. Melville’s prose is concise and direct, allowing the reader to focus on the themes and emotions of the story.
What are the main themes in “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street”?
Some of the main themes in “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” include the nature of work and employment, the alienation of individuals in a capitalist society, and the power dynamics between employer and employee.
Is “Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” suitable for all readers?
“Bartleby The Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, but it is recommended for those who have an interest in literary fiction and philosophical themes. Younger readers may find some of the language and concepts challenging.