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He declines to do what is asked of him over and above the basic task of copying documents. Towards the end of the story, he is discovered occupying the office at weekends. The statement juxtaposes a conditional with a negative sense, and this lends the reply its force. On the other hand, this choice and therefore expression of politeness is an illusion, for Bartleby blatantly refuses to do anything asked of him.
What we witness in the story is a form of resistance based on the paradox of appearing to yield while yielding not at all. How could one fault such a genteel reply?
Unspecific in what it refers to, the word alludes to a choice which it denies. The implicit suggestion that there might be something Bartleby would prefer to do is an illusion. A comparative verb is articulated by Bartleby as an absolute. This small verbal paradox is just one of a whole set of tensions which shape the narrative. Bartleby does not like change. In fact, he prefers not to go very far at all, working, eating, sleeping all in the same place.
He is unable to move out of his private world and make public aspects of himself. He copies documents, but refuses to compare them for that would mean working with someone, and his aim is to remain autonomous and self-contained. Ultimately he refuses to take in any nourishment, but this is prefigured in the text by his refusing to take on more work.
When he arrives at the office he appears to be breaking some kind of fast:. At first, Bartleby did an extraordinary quantity of writing. As if long famishing for something to copy, he seemed to gorge himself on my documents. There was no pause for digestion. Bartleby is and is not what he eats. Bartleby survives on handfuls of gingernuts which are then consumed alone. The phrase is, we might say, regurgitated, burped, repeated, in the text, and this calls to mind the impossibility of digestion and satiation for Bartleby.
He refuses, in effect, to be fed, except insofar as he feeds on himself. By the end of the story, the constant refusals wear everyone down. Locked away in prison, Bartleby refuses to eat:. So saying, he slowly moved to the other side of the enclosure and took up a position fronting the dead-wall. Even in death -the ultimate defence- Bartleby is mild and courteous. He politely refuses to eat, and simply so to live.
Curled up, foetus-fashion, he becomes identified with the object against which his head rests -the prison wall. We are prepared for this early on by references to his pallid complexion, his withdrawal from social life and refusal to take anything- food, money and even the offer of human empathy. Indeed, his exit is quiet and contained. For the time he survives he does so on nothing. He makes no demands, and is constantly in the position of reaction. Bartleby does not revolt in terms of a physical attack, but through a repeated set of verbal refusals, he achieves the effect of revolt.
In anorexic style, he is able to live while taking no nourishment, either physical or spiritual. His is a quiet battle, concerned less with attack than defence.
The small man in his small way interferes with processes which are repetitive and uncreative. In , Q. This characteristically dogmatic view is not only outmoded, but is demonstrably inaccurate.
Some readings overemphasise aspects or elements of the story at the expense of others. In , when the psycho-critics were refining their notions of doppelgangers and split selves, Marvin Felheim, in an article in College English , tried to categorise the various treatments of the story. His categories were not helpful, but his project highlighted two readings of the story that were particularly popular. Bartleby becomes the archetypal clerk, a figure bowed to his task and of whom it is demanded absolute compliance and reliability.
He fights by refusing to fight and so he has become an icon for various Peace Movements in the twentieth century. It is a story about the failure of modern social life. It is also the story of political unrootedness, of the consequences of living in a society operating at an alienatingly high level of production and consumption.
Thoreau went to jail for not paying his poll-tax because it contributed to slavery , but unlike Bartleby whose sense of self is dramatically reduced by confinement, Thoreau felt that to be physically immured was not to lose his sense of personal civic liberty:. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.
He insists that a part of him cannot be imprisoned and this resistance has no cost because it is not part of the civil or political domain. In fact, his psychological freedom could even be thought of having been enhanced by his corporeal imprisonment. This is not the case for Bartleby, however, whose sacrifice is so much the greater because these binary divisions are abandoned.
After Bartleby is en-Tombed, 7 his withdrawal is severe, and this leads to his self-destruction. At the end of the story Bartleby walls himself out of his own life, and he thereby destroys himself while conserving others. The denial of others, for Bartleby, necessarily involves self-denial and withdrawal, and the punishment of himself.
This reading offers an image of neurotic vulnerability. Such is the incurable isolation of individuals whose personal histories are lost in and to the System. Desks and chairs may be repositioned and partition doors may fold down, but there is little change or hope for the individual like Bartleby whose internally-constructed walls are more impermeable than any person can understand.
It becomes another wall between him and external reality. Might there be a way of transcending the distinction between a political and a psychological reading? Might there be an alternative, paradoxical, reading of the text, which puts the psychology at the heart of the politics rather than treating them as discrete? The language of anorexia is helpful here, because, as an illness with which we are becoming increasingly familiar, that condition operates extremely successfully as a form of resistance.
The nature of the resistance, however, is paradoxical and tragic. By keeping everything and everyone out, the anorexic is able to achieve a state of ascetic purity, but this purity leads ultimately to death and is quite literally short-lived. He changes working space into a space of retreat, as he does with his own inner life. As many studies show, anorexics prefer to retreat from social life and seek out places of silence and solitude, where they are able to regulate meagre meals and live on virtually nothing.
As I explained earlier, the force of this refusal derives from the way in which the comparative statement is turned into an absolute. At a social and political level, this mode of resistance is highly effective, and capable of undermining oppressive governments and military regimes.
When adopted by the individual, the consequences can be self-destructive. Although some early critics have identified Bartleby with Melville himself Mumford , Bartleby is a literary construct, and provides only an abstract version of a psychological case study.
And Wall Street, of course, provides the appropriate backdrop. The walls which surround him give him a sense of place if not identity, and there is a certain security in this. These external and inner walls are of course interrelated. Part Two opens with a role reversal. Bartleby is inside the office; the lawyer-narrator is refused entry. The ec-centric Bartleby occupies the central space and his patron is forced to find alternative accommodation.
Part One treats the themes of displacement and social alienation whereas Part Two focuses more on the notions of self-alienation and self-division, from which both Bartleby and the lawyer suffer. In Laingian terms, Bartleby and the lawyer are divided selves. He turns from an alive person into a dead thing, into a stone, or wall.
But the tragic paradox is that the more the self is defended in this way, the more it is destroyed Hus, E. Meltzer and A. I think it becomes clear It could probably be most concisely defined as a transition from lending value to having , to finding greater fulfilment in the more painful but richer predicament of being In order to be he would have to dissolve some of the boundaries and walls and admit in both senses of the word assistance and existence.
He is concerned most of all to protect himself from invasion. His invasion anxieties are not circumscribed, but manifest themselves variously as refusals to take food in, to take work on, to admit the need of help, and to allow others access into either a physical or psychological space. Most pertinently in the story they manifest themselves as refusals of nourishment. Bartleby constructs a chinese box of walls, and, paradoxically, this is both a gesture towards life and death. But as it was I should have as soon thought of turning my pale plaster-of-Paris bust of Cicero out of doors.
Using political thought as well as psychology in our reading of the text allows us to overcome the dichotomy in the critical literature. Daniel W.
Smith and Michael A. London and New York: Verso, Farrell, E. London: Process Press, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, Keppler, C. Tucson: University of Arizona Press,
In the story, a Wall Street lawyer hires a new clerk who, after an initial bout of hard work, refuses to make copies or do any other task required of him, with the words "I would prefer not to. Numerous critical essays have been published about the story, which scholar Robert Milder describes as "unquestionably the masterpiece of the short fiction" in the Melville canon. The narrator is an elderly, unnamed Manhattan lawyer with a comfortable business in legal documents. He already employs two scriveners , Nippers and Turkey, to copy legal documents by hand, but an increase in business leads him to advertise for a third. He hires the forlorn-looking Bartleby in the hope that his calmness will soothe the irascible temperaments of the other two. An office boy nicknamed Ginger Nut completes the staff. At first, Bartleby produces a large volume of high-quality work, but one day, when asked to help proofread a document, Bartleby answers with what soon becomes his perpetual response to every request: "I would prefer not to.
Bartleby, the Scrivener
IDR 75rb kalian sdh bisa dapatkan 2 buku ini. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick. Originality leads to success! Finally felt good enough to be productive!
SparkNotes is here for you with everything you need to ace or teach! Find out more. The Lawyer begins by noting that he is an "elderly man," and that his profession has brought him "into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men the law-copyists, or scriveners. Bartleby is, according to the Lawyer, "one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable, except from the original sources, and, in his case, those were very small. Before introducing Bartleby, the Lawyer describes the other scriveners working in his office at this time. The first is Turkey, a man who is about the same age as the Lawyer around sixty. Turkey has been causing problems lately.
Bartleby & Co.
He declines to do what is asked of him over and above the basic task of copying documents. Towards the end of the story, he is discovered occupying the office at weekends. The statement juxtaposes a conditional with a negative sense, and this lends the reply its force. On the other hand, this choice and therefore expression of politeness is an illusion, for Bartleby blatantly refuses to do anything asked of him. What we witness in the story is a form of resistance based on the paradox of appearing to yield while yielding not at all. How could one fault such a genteel reply?