The Symbolism of Eating and Food in Bartleby, The Scrivener Essay

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“Bartleby, The Scrivener” is a memorable story, by Herman Melville, that is able to keep its readers captivated from beginning to end. How does the author successfully grab the attention of his readers? The author utilized his masterful command of the English language to convey the characters, setting, and plot effectively; and in the midst of all the detailed descriptions Melville have used food and the action of eating as powerful symbols. In the story three of the characters have names that are associated with food, and the main character of study, Bartleby, eventually dies of starvation by choice. Given the setting of the story was in the onset of the second industrial revolution, the coming of the big corporations where Wall …show more content…
Nippers is a young man, about 25 years old, who suffers from indigestion but always eats cakes and ginger nuts. Compared to “Turkey” which is a name more obviously associated with food, the name “Nippers” more symbolizes with the fashion Nippers consumes food, basically nips food at a time. (Eric) He feels bad every morning, and regains focus and efficiency in the afternoon. Nippers and Turkey are quite complimentary as the narrator explains, almost are a match made in heaven only if they were of one person instead. The name of Nippers is just a tool, here used to refer this young man with problems that only allowed him to be 50% effective as an employee.
Ginger Nut is a child of 12 years old, named by a cookie “Ginger Nut”. His father send him here with a good wish of wanting him to learn some law. However he spend whole day on cleaning, buying cakes and apples in return for only one dollar’s worth salary. His work in the law office is described as “contained in a nut shell.” (Melville 125) This could be contributed to the fact that Ginger Nut’s work was mostly about satisfying demands from Turkey and Nippers for food.
Bartleby, described as “pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, and incurably forlorn” (Melville 126) only eats the cookies Ginger Nut brings day after day, no coffee, tea or anything else of