Analysis Of Bartleby The Scrivener

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Herman Melville’s novella, “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, has been found to have many different interpretations from various critics. Leo Marx describes “Bartleby, the Scrivener as “a parable about a particular kind of writers relations to a particular kid of society” (Marx 604). In addition to Marx’s claim, I also think Melville is creating an argument against the capitalist society that was predominant in the 1800s. Melville strategically uses Bartleby and the Wall Street workplace to argue that capitalist society dehumanizes people over time.
The subtitle, “A Tale of Wall Street”, acts as a symbol that not only refers to the capitalistic culture of Wall Street, but also the literal walls that keep Bartleby confined. The author adds great detail about the physical appearance of the room that leads Bartleby to further isolate himself. The author says, “At one end they looked upon the white wall of the interior of a spacious sky-light shaft, penetrating the building from top to bottom. This view might have been considered rather tame than otherwise, deficient in what landscape painters call life” (Melville 662). This descriptive analysis of the walls describes the landscape that people of wall street spent many hours in. In the beginning, Bartleby especially isolated himself
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The last line of the novella, “Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!”, cues the reader to evoke thoughts on human condition and what makes us who we are (Melville 669). This last but equally important phrase reinforces the influence that the capitalist society had in writing this novella. Overall, Melville’s novella both entertains and addresses important